Named after my youngest son, this was a dish that he suggested and I created; meaning, he came up with the idea and I put the ingredients together.  The result was amazing and both boys were singing praises about this dish.  My oldest went so far as to suggest I pitch the recipe to a few local Italian trattorie.

The base of the dish is a delicious ragu of pork.  You can use ground pork, or sausage that’s had the casing removed.  Here’s what you need for the “Ragu di maiale e finnochio” (pork and fennel ragu).

Ingredient Listing

  • 1 pound ground pork or sausage (casings removed)
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 small fennel bulb, diced.  (chopped fronds reserved)
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 handfuls chopped Italian parsley
  • Dry white wine
  • S&P to taste
In a large saucepan, start a small amount of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  A tablespoon or two is all you need.  Add the meat and begin browning – about 4 minutes while breaking the meat into small bits with a wooden spoon.  Wood!  No metal for us.  After the 4 minutes, add the garlic, onion, carrots, and fennel and saute until softened; about another 5 minutes.  At this point, splash with the white wine to deglaze.  Add the vegetable broth and lower to a simmer for about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and let rest.  

Here is the finished ragu resting:


Ragu di Maiale e Finnochio

Cook the gnocchi per package instructions.  The best brand I have found by far is called Vantia, and I have been getting them from Arthur Avenue in the Bronx.  Try to find the fresh, vacuum packed gnocchi. Frozen gnocchi are no good. As the gnocchi are cooking, chop the parsley and fennel fronds.  Return ragu to heat and warm.  Add the chopped parsley and fennel fronds. Check seasoning.  Add cooked gnocchi to pan and warm through for a few minutes.  If the ragu looks dry, you can drizzle some EVOO before plating. Serve immediately. 

Here is the plated dish.

Gnocchi d’Antonio

With this, I served the 2008 D’Arenberg Stump Jump Shiraz.  The wine married well with the flavors from the ragu and plumped up after being open for about 40 minutes, so if you have these, I would decant them for at least that length of time.  Deep dark purple color, with typical black fruits, spices, slight oak. An easy drinking every day Shiraz.  Solid value.  89 points, about $10.  Here is the view through my “drunken” camera….

2008 D’Arenberg Stump Jump Shiraz

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