July 13, 2007

gnocchi & pasta with two basic sauces

two kinds of basic sauces (above)
creamy with bacon & meaty bolognese

cooking the fresh pasta (above)

homemade fresh fettucine pasta (above)
store-bought gnocchi (below)

vacuum-packed fresh gnocchi from the Fresh Market (below)

Pasta supper happens once or twice a week in our household. There are so many possibilities and combinations which can be done with pasta. No wonder it's a favorite dish with a universal appeal which is accepted, loved and enjoyed by almost everyone. One of the items we got from Fresh Market store we visited was this ready to cook gnocchi. Neatly packaged and very convenient to use, it turned out pretty good with the creamy sauce I made. The other sauce I made was bolognese (recipe below), which went well with the fresh pasta I made from scratch. However, the nearby grocery no longer stock semolina flour which I was planning to use for the pasta so I just used all purpose flour. The drawbacks of making fresh pasta was that it was very time consuming, somewhat messy and I wasn't so happy with the clean-up as well. Store-bought fresh pasta are now always available in the grocery, which left me wondering and debating whether it's still practical to make it at home or not. Perhaps the best and only reward we got from the process was that the homemade pasta tasted so fresh and rich. So will I make pasta at home again? It will probably take sometime before I do so but I will do it again because nothing can beat its homemade goodness.


1 lb. ground beef, preferably lean
2 tsps. worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup each finely minced carrots, celery & onion
2-3 cloves minced garlic
1-2 tbsps. all purpose flour
1/2 cup fresh or 1 small can mushroom slices, optional
1/2 cup fresh diced tomatoes, optional
1/4 cup fresh basil, sliced and/ or
2 tsps. dried basil leaves
2 tsps. dried Italian seasoning
1 jar store-bought pasta sauce of your choice, any brand & flavor
1 small can tomato sauce
2 tbsps. tomato paste, optional but adds richness & color
salt, pepper & a little sugar to taste

Saute the minced carrots, celery & onions in a little olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic. Add the ground beef & worcestershire sauce. Add the flour and mix in with the beef. Sometimes, I leave some of the beef lumpy when mixed with the flour like small chunks of meatballs. Cook until beef is lightly browned. Add the rest of the ingredients and let boil. Lower the heat immediately and simmer until rich and flavorful. Our preferred pasta sauce brands in a jar are Newman's Own & Barilla. Adjust seasonings, spoon sauce over fresh pasta and enjoy.


  1. Since you have the passion for cooking, I know you will try it again. Keep it up.

  2. Hopefully I will get in the mood to try it again, thanks!