Gnocchi with venison ragout

Serves 4

For the venison ragout

500g stewing venison, diced into rough 1cm cubes
1 large onion, peeled, halved and finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
100g pancetta or smoked streaky bacon, cut into rough cm dice
A few tablespoons of vegetable oil for frying
tbsp plain flour
1tbsp tomato purée
1tsp chopped thyme or oregano leaves
100ml red wine
750ml hot beef stock
230-250g can of chopped tomatoes

For the gnocchi

600-700g large floury potatoes, baked in their skins, peeled and mashed
1 large egg yolk
125g potato flour
1tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
A good pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

To serve

70g freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino

Heat a little vegetable oil in a large, heavy frying pan. Season the venison and fry in a couple of batches on a high heat for 3-4 minutes until nicely coloured, then transfer to a plate or dish. Meanwhile, gently cook the onion, garlic and pancetta in a tablespoon of the vegetable oil for 3-4 minutes without colouring, then stir in the flour and cook on a low heat for a minute.

Stir in the tomato purée and thyme then gradually add the red wine and hot beef stock, stirring constantly to avoid lumps forming. Bring to the boil, add the venison meat, season and simmer gently for about 1 hours or until the meat is tender.

Meanwhile, make the gnocchi. Gently mix all the ingredients together and season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Roll the mix into balls about the size of a 10 pence piece, then with a fork flatten them slightly, and roll them into a rough tubular shape; leave to rest.

Bring a large pan of boiling, salted water to the boil and cook the gnocchi for 3 minutes, then carefully drain and toss in some butter.

Serve in warmed pasta bowls or plates with the sauce spooned over the gnocchi. Serve the grated Parmesan or Pecorino separately.

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