This recipe comes from a dear friend and colleague, Ino Kuvacic. It is his grandmother’s recipe from Croatia and the gnocchi are stunningly light and soft in texture.
For the gnocci
520g whole starchy potatoes
1 tablespoon beaten egg
40g freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
40g butter, chopped and softened
Half teaspoon sea salt, to taste
100g plain flour
For the sauce
1kg oxtail, cleaned, trimmed, cut roughly into 4cm pieces
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
100ml extra virgin olive oil
50g pancetta, finely diced
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 onion, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 carrot, diced
100ml white wine
1 litre chicken stock
1 thyme sprig
90g butter, chopped
50g freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
For the gnocchi, boil the potatoes with their skins on until soft. Peel while still hot and pass through a potato ricer or food mill. Transfer to a large bowl and add the egg, cheese, butter and salt. Carefully work in the flour, reserving 1 tablespoon for dusting. Dust down a work surface and roll a quarter of the dough into a log 2cm in diameter. Cut at 2cm intervals. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
For the sauce, season the oxtail then heat half the oil over medium heat and cook until nicely browned.
In another saucepan, heat the remaining oil over medium heat and cook the pancetta until crisp. Add the garlic, onion, celery and carrot. Cook for 10 minutes until they’re tender. Add the wine and oxtail and cook for 5 minutes until the wine has evaporated. Add the stock and thyme and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer over a low heat until the oxtail starts to come off the bone, approximately 2 or 3 hours. As the oxtail cooks, skim the fat from the top of the braising liquid. If the the sauce is reducing too fast, add a little extra liquid. Once cooked, take the oxtail from the sauce and let it cool. Remove the meat and return it to the sauce. Reduce the sauce by a quarter.
Cook the gnocchi in abundant salted boiling water. When they float to the surface scoop them out and place in a serving bowl. Add the butter and cheese to the sauce just before serving and spoon over the gnocchi. Serve with the grated parmigiano reggiano.
Taken from ‘Pasta Artigiana’ by Nino Zoccali (Murdoch Books, £20). Photograph by Nicky Ryan