Plump gnocchi and ground beef get a delicious kick from Calabrian chile paste. A specialty ingredient from southern Italy known for its irresistibly sweet-hot flavor.
We’re finishing it all with a bit of mascarpone cheese, which balances out the heat and provides creamy texture.
Like many regional Italian dishes, there is considerable variation in gnocchi recipes as well as names across different regions.
For example, in Lombardy and Tuscany, “malfatti” (literally poorly made). It is made with ricotta, flour, spinach, with the occasional addition of herbs.
Tuscan “gnudi” are known for containing less flour. However, in other regions, some varieties are more flour-based. Such as the Campanian strangulaprievete, the Apulian cavatelli, the Sardinian malloreddus, and so on.
Like pasta, gnocchi are commonly cooked in salted boiling water and then dressed with various sauces. Depending on the type of gnocchi and recipe used. Some gnocchi can be made from pieces of cooked polenta or semolina. Which are spread out to dry, and then layered with cheese and butter and finished in the oven.
- 10 oz ground beef
- ¾ lb gnocchi
- 2 medium garlic cloves
- 1 medium zucchini
- 2 Tbsps tomato paste
- 1½ tsps Calabrian chile paste
- 2 Tbsps mascarpone cheese
- Prepare the ingredients: Heat a medium pot of salted water to boil. Wash and dry the zucchini; cut in half lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise. If necessary, peel the garlic, then roughly chop.
- Brown the zucchini: In a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat a drizzle of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the sliced zucchini in an even layer. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, without stirring, 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate.
- Cook the beef & make the sauce: In the same pan, heat a drizzle of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the beef; season with salt and pepper. Cook, frequently breaking the meat apart with a spoon, 4 to 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Carefully drain off and discard any excess oil. Add the chopped garlic, tomato paste, and as much of the chile paste as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes, or until thoroughly combined and the beef is cooked through. Add the browned zucchini and 3/4 cup of water; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 2 to 3 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened. Turn off the heat.
- Cook the gnocchi: While the beef cooks, add the gnocchi to the pot of boiling water. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until the gnocchi float to the top of the pot. Drain thoroughly.
- Finish & serve your dish: Add the cooked gnocchi and mascarpone to the pan of cooked beef and zucchini. Stir to thoroughly combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!