Gnocchi with Sheep Meat Sauce


This is a typical dish you can find in many regions of central Italy, where still nowadays (luckily!) there are a lot of sheeps.

As everyone knows, sheep meat has a stronger taste than usual meats, it’s used to say that or you love it or you hate it, personally I love it.

I’m going to show the recipe with gnocchi, but it can be done also with homemade pasta, for example “pappardelle” are perfect too (it’s a larger tagliatella, about 2-3cm large).

INGREDIENTS (4 people)

For Gnocchi:

  • 800g potatoes (the best ones are the ones with a floury consistence, dry, compact, as less watery as possible, and the older potatoes are usually better)
  • 200g white flour
  • 1 yolk (technically, if you have the correct potatoes you don’t need it, but it’s not so bad to use it)
  • 1 ½  tea spoons of salt, about

For the meat sauce:

  • 400/500g sheep meat, from the leg is good
  • 400g of good quality tomato sauce (“passata di pomodoro”)
  • 1 white onion
  • half carrot
  • 1 celery rib
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 2 cloves
  • chili pepper
  • 1 glass of a good red wine, full-bodied
  • 30/40g of lardo (it’s the fatback, not smoked, seasoned with salt and sometimes also with aromatic herbs)
  • extravirgin olive oil (2/3 spoons, about)
  • salt
  • grated Pecorino cheese
  1. First of all, we have to prepare the gnocchi (homemade are much better than the industrial ones!), later maybe I’ll write a specific post just about them, at the moment I tell you this: start boiling the potatoes without peeling them  (the best is with steam or in the oven, so you don’t add extra water, but you can also boil it in water if you want to make it faster, and the skin will prevent water to soak the potatoes), when they are completely cooked then peel them and squeeze them, you must do it when they are still hot, so pay attention to your fingers 😀 Add the salt, the yolk and the flour, slowly, and mix it with your hands. It must be a quite fast operation, the mass don’t have to become too much elastic. Cut the mass into some pieces, roll it with hands and cut your gnocchi by using a knife, about 1,5/2cm long.
  2. Now the sauce. First step, wash the meat under running water for some minutes, then remove the biggest pieces of fat, and cut the meat into small pieces, about 1-2 cm.
  3. Put the oil in a cocotte pot, cut small the onion, the celery and the carrot and add them in the pot. Cut also the lardo very thin, reduce it in a cream by hitting it with a big knife, and drop it in the pot too. When everything is softer, add the meat and sear it on every side, at medium/high heat.
  4. When the meat gets a nice color, pour the red wine and set the heat higher, until the wine has reduced.
  5. Now set the heat low, add the tomato sauce, the rosemary, the cloves, the chili and season with salt.
  6. From now let it simmer at very low heat for about 2 and a half/3 hours (check it regularly, and if it’s needed add a ladle of hot water). After about 45/60 minutes remove the sprig of rosemary and the cloves.
  7. When the meat is softer then the sauce is ready, so you can start boiling in a high pot the gnocchi in hot salted water. Gnocchi are ready when they float on the surface, it will take just few minutes.
  8. Drain the gnocchi and put them directly from the pot into a big bowl, add the sauce and mix all together. And don’t forget to add Pecorino cheese on the top! 🙂
  9. Serve it and enjoy it! With a glass of good red wine 🙂


Here below with gnocchi made using also wild garlic 🙂


Calories (average man): 60′ running / 1h15′ cycling / 2h15′ wood cutting 😀

Calories (average woman): 1h20′ running / 1h40′ cycling / 2h45′ wood cutting 😀


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