I had ground beef to use for dinner and wanted to include gnocchi. I did a quick web search and laughed at the recipe that caught my eye. It looked so delicious, but scrolling down I found the recipe was all boxes and cans kind of foods. I wanted to use up some potatoes and make my own gnocchi and use good shredded cheese. The recipe might be fine for quick meals but I wanted my casserole to be homemade.
I started by peeling and dicing up the remainder of a bag of potatoes and placing them in a pot of salted water. I brought them to a boil and let them cook until they were fork tender. I drained the potatoes and let them cool for a few minutes so they’d be easier to handle.
I used my ricer and soon the potatoes were reduced to little bits. I let the potatoes cool completely, for better handling.
I made a mound of riced potatoes on the counter. In the hollowed out center I placed the flour, salt and egg. With my hands I worked the ingredients into a smooth ball, kneading it gently, then spread it out into a large rectangle with my fingers. I cut it into strips 1″ wide, rolled each strip into a rope then cut them into 3/4″ pieces.
I used a gnocchi board to roll them and make the popular marks on each little pillow. You could also use a fork if you don’t have a board. From there you add about 20 gnocchi at a time to a pot of boiling water until they float.
Let the gnocchi cook another minute then use a slotted spoon to remove them onto a plate in single layers. Set the gnocchi aside until you’re ready to add them to the skillet.
While the potatoes cooled I put the ground beef into a large skillet and pressed down so that the maximum amount of beef would get browned and caramelized. When it was brown I broke it up into pieces, keeping them a bit larger to imitate the picture I’d seen for the recipe.
I added about 3/4 of the batch of gnocchi, a can of petite diced tomatoes and a cup of beef broth to the skillet.
I wanted Italian seasonings so I used some basil, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. I used a couple of shakes, maybe about 1/2 – 1/4 teaspoon of each. You could play with them to suit your tastes.
I stirred the skillet and let it come to a bubble. I let it cook for about 10 minutes to reduce down and allow the seasonings to hydrate and spread their flavors.
I added the cheese to the skillet and stirred well, until it was melted and evenly spread throughout the mixture.
I was so pleased, it looked a lot like the casserole Val had made on her blog. I’d simply made it with raw ingredients instead of premade mixes.
And the flavors? They were so amazing! My P.S. loved it. He likes anything with gnocchi in it so he wasn’t a difficult one to please. I loved the light pillows of gnocchi, the beef and the cheesy sauce. I only wished I’d made a larger batch so there were more leftovers!
Beefy Gnocchi Casserole
- 1# ground beef
- salt and pepper
- 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1/2 teaspoon basil
- 1/4 teaspoon thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teapoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups cheddar cheese; shredded
- 1 cup colby jack cheese; shredded
Prepare gnocchi (recipe is below). This could be prepared a day or two ahead of time even. Set aside until needed.
In a large skillet spread ground beef, season with salt and pepper and fry until brown and carmelized in places. Break into pieces, leaving them fairly large.
Add gnocchi, tomatoes and beef broth to skillet along with seasonings. Stir and bring to a bubble. Let cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in cheeses and let cook until melted and smooth. Let simmer on low heat for another 10 minutes. Taste test for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as desired.
- 5 medium potatoes (I used russet potatoes)
- 1 3/4 cup flour plus more for dusting
- 1 large egg; beaten
- Coarse salt
Peel and cut potatoes into 1 1/2″ pieces. Cook in salted, boiling water until they are fork tender. Drain and cool for several minutes. Rice potatoes into a bowl while they are still warm. Set aside and cool completely.
Add flour and 2 teaspoons of salt to the potatoes and top with egg. Work ingredients together with your hands. Knead on counter for 4 minutes until smooth and dry to touch but not elastic. Add flour if it becomes sticky.
Work dough into ball and gently flatten to 1” thick disk. Cut the rectangle into 1″ ropes with a knife or spatula and cut each rope into 3/4” pieces. Use a gnocchi board or the back of a fork to roll each piece and make lines. The gnocchi should curl as it rolls.
Place 20 pieces at a time in boiling water. When gnocchi floats to the top, cook another minute or so and remove from pot with a slotted spoon to a dish in single layers. Continue in batches until all are cooked.
Adapted from Val’s Kitchen