Not as smooth in the kitchen as you are at the bar picking up the ladies, right? Right? We’re here to help. Some of the country’s top foodies have offered their culinary inspiration — because there’s nothing sadder than leftover Chinese food on a dark, winter’s night.
Heard of John Catucci? He used to be just like you. The funny guy of Food Network Canada and host of You Gotta Eat Here failed at making tomato sauce in his early 20s by heating up a can of tomatoes and a couple cups of water. Now he jets around the country, sampling eats in some of Canada’s tastiest restaurants. Has he learnt a lot? You bet.
If you’re looking for a delicious yet simple dinner sure to impress a roommate, girlfriend or mother, John suggests this gem. Nothing hits the spot in December quite like a pile of potato-y, meaty goodness.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, chopped
1 pound ground beef
1 teaspoon each: crumbled dried rosemary, dried oregano, dried parsley, dried basil, dried thyme, and chili flakes
4 cups canned plum tomatoes
4 cups tomato purée
1 can (13 ounces/369 mL) tomato paste
Salt and pepper
Heat the oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until they are golden brown. Add the ground beef and cook until brown.
Stir in the rosemary, oregano, parsley, thyme, basil, and chili flakes, then add the plum tomatoes, tomato purée, and tomato paste. Fill each empty can halfway with water and add to the sauce. Cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for 1.5 hours or until your preferred thickness. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4 medium baking potatoes (unpeeled)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
Boil the potatoes until they are easily pierced with a fork. Drain and let cool. Once cool, peel them and mash them.
Turn the mashed potatoes out onto a lightly floured work surface. Make a well in the centre and fill with the eggs and salt. Using a wooden spoon or your hand, start mixing in the potato from the sides of the well. When all the potato is incorporated, knead the dough, adding as much flour as needed to make a firm dough.
Divide dough into 4 equal pieces. Dust work surface lightly with flour. With your hands, roll each piece into a rope about 1/2 inch think. Cut dough into 1/2-inch-long pieces. Place on a baking sheet dusted with flour while you proceed to shape and cut the rest of the dough.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Use a bench scraper to scoop up gnocchi and drop into the boiling water. When the gnocchi rise to the surface, they are ready. Using a slotted spoon or wire strainer, transfer to a bowl.
Toss gnocchi with the meat sauce and serve.
Recipe courtesy of You Gotta Eat Here! © 2012 Lone Eagle Entertainment. Published by HarperCollins Canada. All rights reserved.