A comforting, cool weather meal, homemade curry gnocchi is topped with a white lamb bolognese made with non-dairy cashew cream, fresh tomatoes and basil.
I’ve been practicing major restraint because for some reason I want allllll the curry right now. Seriously, if you look at my recipe brainstorm list, you’ll see about a million and one things I want to do with this magic ingredient. For now, I decided to settle for sharing this Curry Gnocchi with White Lamb Bolognese with all of you, but rest assured that’s not the end of the curry line for this here blog.
Tell me, how much do you love curry? Are you borderline obsessed like I am or do you steer as clear of it as possible? Should I keep posting more curry recipes in the next few months, while the air has that little nip to it that makes us want to curl up with a comforting bowl of spice? Or would you rather see more of the usual: pumpkin, squash, apples and the like?
If you’ve been following along for a while, you’ll know that my curry obsession is nothing new. One of the first recipes I posted when I revamped the blog was this Pumpkin Curry Hummus (OMG yum! It’s that time of the year when I have some in my refrigerator at all times,) but there were also these Curry-Rosemary Mixed Nuts, this Healthy Curried Chicken Salad with Apples, and these Summer Rolls with Red Curry-Peanut-Pumpkin Dipping Sauce.
The GREAT news is, curry and healthy recipes go hand in hand, so we don’t have to feel bad about enjoying all that our little Indian spice friend has to offer. This Curry Gnocchi with White Lamb Bolognese is no exception. I know, I know, you’re thinking “How can pasta with a white sauce be HEALTHY?” Well, let me tell you my friends, because this is exactly the type of thing CaliGirl Cooking is all about.
We all know I’m definitely not into cutting anything out from our diets completely, rather practicing moderation and eating mostly whole foods. Something like that 80/20 way of eating that everyone’s talking about these days. But we all want to enjoy those simple comfort foods of pasta and a cream sauce every once in a while. I feel ya. I crave it too. With this Curry Gnocchi with White Lamb Bolognese, we immediately get that same comfort food feeling and, wait for it, without all of the cream or butter!
That’s right folks, the White Lamb Bolognese is made with my OG cashew cream (which has also become a very real obsession of mine, see Exhibits A & B.) In fact, this recipe can be made completely vegan with the omission of the ground lamb. Say what? Ummmm….yea. I really am soooo excited to share this recipe with you because it is so damn tasty, rich and comforting, without REALLY being rich. So healthy!
What do you say? Shall we get to it?
Raise your hand if you’re super intimidated to make gnocchi from scratch. Me, me! Or at least I was, until I did a little research and dusted off my parents’ old copy of Marcella Hazan’s “The Classic Italian Cookbook.” You see, the recipes that I had been seeing online all involved the use of egg yolks, while Hazan recommends NOT using them, stating that it makes the gnocchi a tad more chewy and less melt-in-your-mouth tender. I could hardly believe that I could make gnocchi out of JUST flour and potatoes, but I decided to give it a shot. I am so glad I did.
The process is amazingly simple: We boil whole potatoes and easily peel the skin off afterwards. We push them through a ricer (buy one now, you will NOT regret it) and then mix the riced potato with just enough flour to make a slightly sticky dough. We also cannot forget to knead in the curry powder at this step. Your hands MIGHT smell like curry for two days straight afterwards, but who’s complaining.
The dough is rolled out into long, skinny “logs,” which we’re going to cut into about ¾-inch pieces for the gnocchi.
Once the dough is cut, we do the little indentation trick with a fork which, according to Hazan, will help the gnocchi cook more evenly. It sounds complicated, but it’s really not.
Essentially, you’re going to hold each gnocchi lengthwise along the tines of the fork, then press the gnocchi into the tines with the pointer finger on your other hand (the one not holding the fork) and flick it off onto your floured surface. Essentially we’re making the gnocchi have a little bit of concavity with the fork indentations underneath.
Once the gnocchi are prepped, we set them aside until we’re ready to throw everything together (they really only take a couple of minutes to cook.)
We saute our ground lamb with onion and garlic (or just saute the onion and garlic if you’d like to make this vegan) and then add some dried oregano, fresh basil and Roma tomatoes. We drown this mixture in cashew cream and mix it up real good, letting it all simmer together for a few minutes and finishing it all off with a hint of fresh lemon juice. DO NOT skip the lemon juice. It’s seriously the icing on the cake and MAKES this dish.
Once our sauce is simmering, we drop our curry gnocchi into a big pot of boiling, salted water. A couple of minutes later, the cute little curry pillows will begin floating to the top of the pot, which means they’re done and ready to be pulled out.
We place a hefty serving of gnocchi on the bottom of our favorite pasta dishes, drown it all with the White Lamb Bolognese sauce, and there you have it! A delicious, healthy and homey meal. I may be biased, but this is seriously one of my most favorite meals I’ve ever featured here on CaliGirl Cooking. It’s just the right amount of decadent while not being over-the-top, and the gamey, creamy White Lamb Bolognese is the perfect complement to the exotic Curry Gnocchi. It’s perfectly balanced with an insane burst of flavor that will leave you craving more.
Now, excuse me while I go pour a glass of red wine, I have some Curry Gnocchi with White Lamb Bolognese to devour.
A comforting yet healthy cool weather meal, homemade curry gnocchi is topped with a White Lamb Bolognese made with non-dairy cashew cream, fresh tomatoes and basil.*Gnocchi recipe adapted from Marcella Hazan's "The Classic Italian Cookbook."
For the Curry Gnocchi:
- 1 ½ pounds baking potatoes
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
For the White Lamb Bolognese:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ white onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 12 ounces ground lamb
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 Roma tomatoes diced
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil plus more for garnish
- 1 batch of cashew cream see recipe in Notes below
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Place potatoes in a large saucepan and fill with water (to about a ½ an inch to an inch over the top of the potatoes.) Place pan on stove and bring to a boil. Cook at a rolling boil until potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes (be careful not to poke the potatoes too much, as this will cause them to become waterlogged; I used a pair of tongs to lightly squeeze the sides and see how tender they felt.) Once cooked, remove potatoes from water and let cool slightly. Once they are cool enough to touch, peel off the skin.
Cut the potatoes into quarters and put them through your ricer into a large mixing bowl. Slowly add the flour, kneading until you get a slightly sticky dough (that’s still not too difficult to handle.) I used about ¾ of a cup of flour, but this may vary depending on the potatoes you are using. Knead in the curry powder.
Divide the dough into about five pieces on a lightly floured surface and roll each piece into a long, skinny log, about 3/4-inch in diameter. Cut each log into ¾-inch long pieces (the size of gnocchi.) Using a fork, hold each gnocchi lengthwise against the tines of the fork with the pointer finger of the hand not holding the fork, then gently flick it off. This will give the gnocchi a little concavity to cook more evenly. Set prepared gnocchi aside. Place a large pot of heavily salted boiling water over high heat to bring to a boil.
Next, prepare the sauce. In a large saute pan, cook the onions and garlic in two tablespoons of olive oil. Once the onions and garlic have started to turn translucent and become fragrant, add the ground lamb. As the ground lamb begins to brown, add the oregano and tomatoes. Stir until the lamb looks mostly cooked, although a few shades of pink are okay as we’ll be cooking it a bit longer with the sauce. Add the cashew cream, fresh basil, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Let simmer for about 10 minutes for the flavors to meld, and squeeze in lemon juice, once again stirring to combine.
Once your large pot of water has come to a boil, begin adding the curry gnocchi in batches (about a dozen at a time.) Once the gnocchi floats to the top of the pot, remove with a slotted spoon.
Spoon gnocchi onto individual plates and top with a generous portion of the White Lamb Bolognese. Garnish with more fresh basil and serve immediately.
To make the cashew cream, soak one cup of raw, unsalted cashews in water for at least 4 hours (or overnight.) Drain cashews and add them to a blender with ½ teaspoon of nutritional yeast, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and ¾ cup of filtered water. Blend on high speed until a cream forms. This can be made up to a couple of days in advance
Wine Pairing Note: The hubs and I LOVED enjoying this with one of our wedding wines, the Newton Claret. Any Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah (a classic pairing for lamb) would be fabulous with this.
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Is it dinner time yet?