Italian Squash Gnocchi with Tomato Meat Sauce

Italian Squash Gnocchi with Tomato Meat Sauce

      Servings: (Serves 8)


Italian Squash Gnocchi with Tomato Meat Sauce


For the Meat Sauce

• 1 onion, finely chopped

• 1 carrot, finely chopped

• 1 celery, finely chopped

• 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

• 250 g ground beef

• 2 1/2 cups sauce or strained tomatoes

• 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

• 6-8 basil leaves

• Salt and black pepper to taste


For the Squash Gnocchi

• 500 g Italian squash or yellow zucchini, halved and cut into 1/2 inch pieces  

• 500 g all-purpose flour

• 1 egg, lightly beaten

• 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


To assemble in ramekins 

• 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

• 1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated

• Bunch of basil leaves, for garnishing


For the Meat Sauce

Place a heavy bottomed saucepan on medium heat. Once hot, add oil, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook vegetables until tender and soft, about 8-10 minutes. Add ground beef and increase heat to medium-high. Stir meat into vegetables and cook until well browned, about 10 minutes, making sure to stir often. Add tomato sauce, 1/2 cup water and basil. Stir, reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for at least 20 minutes. 

For the Squash Gnocchi

Place squash in a large pot and add 1/3 cup of water. On medium-high heat with lid on, steam squash until soft and very tender, about 10-12 minutes. Strain well in colander. With the back of a spoon, gently press squash against colander squeezing out more water. Allow to cool slightly.

Puree squash with food processor or mash very well with a fork. Place into a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix with a spoon until combined. Transfer onto a lightly floured surface and knead until well combined. Cover with bowl or towel.

Cut dough into 8 pieces and cover. One at a time, roll out into ropes about ½ inch thick. Cut into 1/2 inch pieces and form into desired shapes. Lightly toss with flour and place on a lightly floured sheet pan. Make sure they do not touch. Cover with towel and allow to dry slightly from 20 minutes up to 3 hours.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add gnocchi and stir. Cook gnocchi until they start floating to the top. Drain well, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water, and place gnocchi into a large bowl. Add pasta water and meat sauce. Stir to combine. Add 1/2 of the cheeses and stir.

Place into 8 ramekins (5 ounce) and equally top with remaining cheese. Bake in pre-heated 425oF oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Garnish with basil and serve.


Recipe prepared by Chef Pino DiCerbo



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