In this type of dish you should try to use proper spinach and not baby spinach, as it has a lot better flavour and texture. You can use a ball of Buffalo mozzarella and tear it into chunks for replacing mascarpone (if you don’t want to use it).
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 450g (1lb) lean minced beef
- 700g jar passata (Italian sieved tomatoes)
- Pinch of sugar
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh Italian herbs
- 450g (1lb) fresh spinach
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 500g packet fresh gnocchi
- 100g (4oz) mascarpone cheese
- 50g (2oz) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Ciabatta bread, to serve
- In a large pan heat half of the olive oil, add onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes or until softened but not coloured.
- Add minced beef and cook for a few minutes more, until lightly browned. With wooden spoon break up any lumps.
- Add passata, herbs and sugar, season to your liking and simmer for 15-20 minutes until it becomes slightly thickened and reduced.
- Meanwhile, wash the spinach, remove large stalks if any, then dry well (salad spinner works wonderful if you have one).
- Take a large heavy based pan and heat it up. Add fistfuls of spinach, add another one as one wilts down. Cook for a minute, tip into a colander and excess moisture by gently pressing.
- In the pan, sauté the garlic for 30 seconds with the rest of the olive oil. Add the drained spinach and season to your liking. Toss until heated through and tip it into a colander and drain.
- When the Bolognese souce is almost done, prepare gnocchi, cooking them in a large pan of salted water for around 5 minutes or according to instructions on the packet. Combine mascarpone with the Parmesan and add pepper.
- Squeeze out any excess moisture from spinach. Stir the spinach and gnocchi into the Bolognese sauce and tip everything in a large ovenproof dish.
- Add dollops of mascarpone mixture and grill it until golden and bubbling. Serve right away with a basket of ciabatta bread.
It’s delicious. Enjoy!