Hearty bolognese sauce made with sausage and ground beef over pillowy gnocchi makes the perfect comfort food meal.
Something special happens to ground beef and sausage when it’s tenderized with white wine and milk then simmered with tomatoes. While my favorite bolognese pairs perfectly with long tendrils of pasta, something extra special happens when these fine, meaty curds and finished sauce cling to pillowy clouds of tender gnocchi.
Because the sauce is even better the next day after the sauce’s flavors have melded together, this dish is one of my weeknight faves. Most often I make it with shelf-stable, store-bought potato gnocchi but depending on how much time I have, lately I’ve been trying my hand at mastering homemade gnocchi. Either way, this gnocchi bolognese is a keeper.
How to Make Gnocchi Bolognese
For a deep dive on how to make the best bolognese, visit my bolognese recipe here, or check out the highlights below.
This sauce makes enough for 1 1/2 to 2 pounds of gnocchi. Unless I’m serving it for a crowd, I’ll make the sauce then use just half of it for 1 pound of gnocchi, and freeze the rest of the sauce for later.
Plan on at least 2 1/2 – 3 hours of cooking time for the best-flavored sauce. This sauce is best after a long, slow simmer for the flavors to develop. And it’s just as good if not better the next day.
Start with a mixture of onion, celery, and carrot in butter. A fine mince of sautéed vegetables is one of the signatures of bolognese. Note, there is no garlic in traditional bolognese.
Simmering the meat in white wine and milk makes it more tender and flavorful. With its less pronounced flavor, I prefer white wine in bolognese sauce, but either will do. Just make sure it’s a decent brand you wouldn’t mind drinking.
Use canned tomatoes and beef or chicken broth. Adding broth to the tomatoes keeps the sauce moist and juicy during its long simmer as the meats braise.
Use Store-Bought or Homemade Gnocchi
One of my recent cooking goals is to master homemade gnocchi and share the recipe with you. I haven’t perfected my version of the recipe quite yet, but followed this video’s gnocchi-making technique in hopes of creating a tender, pillowy potato gnocchi to be proud of.
Of course, you can always use a good-quality store-bought gnocchi, like my favorite from DeLallo.
For best results and gnocchi that doesn’t get gummy or fall apart, cook it for just a minute more after it rises to the top of the boiling water.
Finish the Gnocchi In the Sauce
Add the bolognese and gnocchi to a skillet to finish the dish. Just like in an Italian restaurant, I like to combine the sauce and gnocchi in a skillet to finish it off. This method is especially helpful if you’ve made the bolognese the day before. Just heat the amount of sauce you need before adding the cooked gnocchi to warm and meld together.
Finish with Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs if desired. Always use freshly ground Parmesan for the best flavor.
Make This a Meatless Bolognese
Instead of a round of meats, try using a plant-based alternative product like Impossible Ground Burger or check out this alternative burger product comparison.
What to Serve With Gnocchi Bolognese
- Caesar Salad with Garlic Croutons
- Arugula Salad With Shaved Parmesan Three Ways
- Kale Salad With Parmesan and Pine Nuts
- The BEST Garlic Bread
- Easy 5-Minute Parmesan Zucchini
More Gnocchi Recipe Ideas
- Gnocchi With Pomodoro Sauce
- Truffled Gnocchi Macaroni and Cheese
- Sausage and Gnocchi Soup
- Chicken Marsala Gnocchi
- Spring Vegetable Gnocchi
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