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Beef Ragu with Parmesan Gnocchi

 In Dinner/Supper, Meat

Beef ragu with Parmesan gnocchi

Today is a grey, glum day in Pretoria. The kind of day which should be spent in bed watching Breaking Bad (Yes, we are way behind). Alas, I have to work and so the only thing making me feel better is the thought of this incredible, rustic beef ragu with delicate Parmesan gnocchi.

Beef ragu with Parmesan gnocchi

I made the ragu using the Jamie Oliver Philips HomeCooker as Philips had sent me the machine to test a couple of weeks ago. I used the homecooker without the stirring attachment and have to be honest, it was a dream to work with. The HomeCooker assembles really easily and is very easy to use. The only problem for me is that because I cook for upwards of 8 people every night, the HomeCooker is slightly small but for a family of 4/5, it will work brilliantly. I also like that there’s a steamer basket which allows you to cooke your entire meal in one pot.

Beef ragu with Parmesan gnocchi

Back to this recipe though, I took inspiration from the Pork ragu with roasted garlic gnocchi post I did awhile ago. I really think that gnocchi was made to sit alongside a rich, flavourful ragu to suck up all those delicious flavours. To compliment the rustic ragu, I flavoured the gnocchi with Parmesan which added depth without overpowering the ragu. The perfect recipe for this cold day (or colder months ahead up North).

Beef ragu with Parmesan gnocchi

5.0 from 2 reviews
Beef Ragu with Parmesan Gnocchi
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Stew, Ragu, Meat Sauce, Gnocchi, Dinner
Serves: 4-6
for the ragu
  • 1kg chuck roast
  • 2 red onions, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1x 400g tin tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled, left whole
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 250ml red wine
  • 500ml beef stock
  • salt & pepper to taste
for the Parmesan gnocchi
  • 1 kg baking/fluffy potatoes
  • 75g Parmesan, finely grated
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1-1.5 cups flour
  • salt to taste
  1. To make the pork ragu, set the homecooker (or your oven) to 160°c.
  2. Place the beef, onions, tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, soy sauce, spices, sugar and salt & pepper into a roasting dish with a lid. Add the wine & stock and cover.
  3. Place in the oven (if you're using the oven) and allow to cook for 3-4 hours until the meat is tender and pulls apart easily. With the homecooker, you'll have to set it to 99 mins for the first round and see how tender the meat is at that point. You can set it for another hour or so after that.
  4. In the meantime, make the gnocchi.
  5. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes – 1 hour until a skewer is easily inserted.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
  7. Halve the potatoes and scoop the flesh into a bowl.
  8. Place the Parmesan into the bowl with the potatoes. Using a potato masher/fork, mash until there are no lumps.
  9. Add the egg yolks and mix well.
  10. Add the flour, ½ cup at a time and mix in gently, you don’t want to over-work the dough. I only needed 1.5 cups of flour for my gnocchi but some mixtures might need a bit more. It’s best to make sure your potatoes are quite dry before adding the flour though as the more flour you add, the tougher your gnocchi will be.
  11. When you’ve added enough flour to result in a soft dough, break tennis ball sized pieces off of the dough and roll into long strips on a floured surface. cut the strip into 1cm gnocchis and place on a tray covered with semolina until you are ready to cook them. If you like, you can also use a fork to make indents in the gnocchi which create little spaces to suck up more of the ragu sauce.
  12. When the beef is cooked and soft, remove from the oven. Turn the heat up to 220°c (same with the homecooker). Shred the beef with two forks and place back in the sauce. Adjust the seasoning of the sauce if needed. Place the ragu back in the oven and allow to cook for another 20 minutes.
  13. To cook the gnocchi, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and drop the gnocchi in carefully. When they float to the surface they are ready. Remove them with a slotted spoon and place straight into the ragu.
  14. Serve immediately.

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Alida Ryder
Being a general food freak has proven to be quite helpful in this career I've found myself in. Author of two cookbooks, photographer, food stylist. Mom to twins. Ex make-up and hair artist obsessed with beautiful clothes and spaces. I love a good G&T and I've been known to spend too much money on shoes.
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Showing 12 comments
  • Jen

    Worth the labour … home made gnocchi, if done right, are remarkable cloudy pillows of yummies into your mouth…I have never prepared gnocchi thru baking the potatoes. My sauce is cooking now, so I am really looking forward to this..smells awesome.thanks for sharing:)

  • Melanie

    I have made this twice in the past month and it is delicious. Thanks for the great recipe.

  • Alida Ryder

    Sarah, was your oven set at °f or °c? My recipe calls for 160°c which is considerably warmer than the same setting fahrenheit. 160°C = 320°F.

  • Sarah

    After cooking at 160 in the oven for 4 hours my meat is still raw and nowhere near ready for shredding….I have followed the directions exactly.

    • Jen


  • Natalie Melchiorre

    The ragu turned out really good!

  • Alida Ryder

    Stephi, yes, they are canned. You can use either whole or chopped.

  • Stephi Jones

    I’m in the US and was wondering what tin tomatoes are? Is that canned tomatoes? Whole? Chopped? Stewed? Thank you 🙂

    • Jen

      Canned tomatoes. .whole..break them up..this was so good pls notice oven temp in celcius=320°f..I did 350°f:)

  • SunnyDaysNora

    Oh my, this looks fabulous!

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