Cook the Book: Almond Gnocchi with Lamb Ragu

Cook the Book: Almond Gnocchi with Lamb Ragu

I've saved Joy Manning and Tara Mataraza Desmond's gnocchi with lamb ragu for Friday, because I think it'll make a great weekend project. Properly-made gnocchi are a joy both to roll and to eat, and this version, which calls for the potatoes to be riced instead of mashed, ensures a light and tender result, with a touch of texture from the almond flour.

The ragu uses just a couple of lamb shoulder chops, braised to pull-apart tenderness, but you could leave out the meat entirely and make a simple tomato, sage, and oregano sauce.

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  • Yield:4


  • For gnocchi:
  • 3 small russet potatoes (about 1 pound), unpeeled and scrubbed
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (1 ounce), plus more for serving
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg yolk
  • For lamb ragu:
  • 1/2 pound lamb shoulder round chops
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup small-diced onion
  • 2 large cloves garlic, sliced very thin
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, seeded and crushed
  • 3 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 sprig oregano


  1. 1.

    To prepare the potatoes for the gnocchi, put the unpeeled potatoes in a large pot and fill it with cold water. Bring the water to a boil, then simmer the potatoes for 30 minutes, or until fork tender all the way through. Turn off the heat, remove the potatoes from the water with a slotted spoon, and run cold water over them. Set them aside to cool slightly. Reserve the hot water in the pot.

  2. 2.

    To make the ragu, season the lamb with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large saute pan over high heat. Add the lamb to the pan and sear the pieces for about 5 minutes on each side, until nicely browned. Remove the lamb from the pan and set aside. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Pour in the wine, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the tomatoes, sage, and oregano. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and braise the lamb in the sauce for 1 1/2 hours.

  3. 3.

    To make the gnocchi, while the lamb cooks, whisk together the flours, cheese, and 1 tablespoon salt in a large bowl. Peel the potatoes, discarding the skins, and squeeze them through a ricer into the flour mixture. Add the egg yolk and gently stir all the ingredients together, forming a soft dough. If the dough is too sticky, add flour a few teaspoons at a time, taking care not to add too much. Knead the dough about 10 times and then cut it into 8 smaller pieces. Roll into a 1/2-inch-thick rope, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Transfer the pieces to a rimmed baking sheet dusted with flour. Return the pot of water to a boil and season with salt.

  4. 4.

    To finish the dish, when the meat is very tender, take the chops out of the sauce. Shred the meat with two forks and return it to the pan, discarding the bones. Remove the sage leaves and the oregano sprig, season with salt and pepper to taste, and keep the ragu warm.

  5. 5.

    Gently drop batches of the gnocchi into the boiling water and cook for about 3 minutes, until the gnocchi float to the top of the pot. Transfer the cooked gnocchi with a slotted spoon into the warm ragu. Continue until all of the gnocchi are cooked.

  6. 6.

    Gently toss the gnocchi with the ragu over low heat. Divide the gnocchi and lamb ragu into serving bowls, sprinkle with cheese, and serve.