Baked Gnocchi Bolognese

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This tasty variation on an Italian classic is very popular at my place because it is so simple to prepare and really scrumptious. It is fantastic when you have a lot of people to feed- just keep doubling the recipe and adding what-ever bits and pieces you like and it still works a treat.

Best of all, it uses good Aussie beef mince, supporting us beef producers and providing a delicious dish at a very economical price. With the nights still chilly, it is a perfect time to road-test this one on the family.

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Chop the basil leaves, leaving aside 4 small sprigs as a garnish. Brown the mince. Add a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce. Chop the onion and garlic and fry in oil until translucent. Combine the meat, onions and garlic and add enough Bolognese sauce to create a firm, not sloppy mixture. Test the mixture for flavour and add salt, pepper and a dash of tomato sauce if necessary. In the meantime, boil the gnocchi in a large pan with some salt.

Cook for about 3 minutes.

When they rise to the top, remove with a slotted spoon. Spread the Bolognese mixture into a large dish (suitable for lasagne) and add a sprinkle of the cheese mix. Sprinkle on the chopped basil plus more cheese mix. Add all the cooked gnocchi in a layer on top and season with salt and pepper. Top with the grated parmesan and a few sprinkles of nutmeg. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until the top is brown and bubbling.

Leave it to settle out of the oven for 10 minutes before serving and garnish each portion with a small basil sprig.

Serve with a green salad, some crusty bread and possibly a glass of good red wine.

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 750 g of good beef mince
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 onions
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • 1 500 g pack fresh gnocchi
  • 1 large bottle Bolognese sauce eg Paul Newmans
  • 1 packet pizza cheese mix
  • 2 tablespoons fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • Nutmeg, salt and milled black pepper
  • Serves 4