Mary Beth Clark

Culinary Educator · Consultant · Author

Potato Gnocchi with Turkey Ragù, Asparagus, and Roasted Pepper

Gnocchi di Patate con Ragù di Tacchino, Asparagi, e Peperone Arrostite

Leftover turkey after the holidays? Forget another year of making soup, salad, and sandwiches. Make Potato Gnocchi with Turkey Ragù – it is luscious. The fresh asparagus and roasted sweet red pepper bring bright flavor, color, and lightness to the dish, so welcomed following holiday meals. After hours of cooking for friends and family, do not worry. This Roast Turkey Ragù is quick and easy to make, adjust quantities as you prefer. You will be a genius, and no one will ever think you included leftovers. Rather, you made this dish especially for them. My family loves it, so will yours.

Cooking Time is about 45 minutes. Makes 4 cups (946 ml) ragù.

4 to 6 servings

Roast Turkey Ragù:
2 tablespoons (1 ounce or 28 g) unsalted butter
1/4 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 medium celery stalk, finely chopped
2 tablespoons (1 ounce or 28 g) diced pancetta
1 link (4 ounces or 115 g) fresh chicken or pork sausage, casing removed, crumbled  
1 small garlic clove, peeled and left whole
3 cups cubed roast turkey (boneless, skinless, roasted, 15 ounces or 425 g)
1/4 cup (2 ounces or 60 ml) dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) double tomato concentrate
3 cups (24 ounces or 710 ml) turkey or chicken broth, preferably homemade
Freshly grated nutmeg to taste
Salt to taste – near the end of cooking because roast turkey was previously seasoned

1 cup (8 ounces or 235 ml) heavy cream
Freshly grated aged Parmigiano-Reggiano, Asiago d’ Allevo, or Piave cheese to taste
8 to 12 green or purple asparagus spears, cooked then cut into 1/2-inch (1.25-cm) sections
1/2 to 1 small roasted sweet red pepper, seeded, chopped

Potato Gnocchi or Potato Gnocchi with Parmigiano-Reggiano: 1 1/2 pounds (680 g) potato gnocchi, fresh or frozen and thawed. If commercially-prepared gnocchi is large, cut each piece in half horizontally for fast cooking and a light dish.

Recommended Cheese Topping: Freshly grated aged Parmigiano-Reggiano, Asiago d’ Allevo, or Piave cheese.

Chef’s Tip: It is very important to keep the turkey flavor separate from the asparagus and red pepper flavors until just before serving. The best and easiest way to do this is to pre-cook both the asparagus and red pepper, because if added raw to the ragù, their strong flavors and juices overpower the turkey.

Steam or blanch fresh asparagus until very firm al dente, and there is some resistance when pierced with a fork. Cool. Cut into 1/2-inch (1.25-cm) lengths and reserve. Core and seed the raw  sweet red pepper. Roast in a 400 F/200 C/Gas Mark 6 oven for 20 minutes, then cool and peel. Or purchase roasted sweet red pepper available in many grocery stores. Cut into similar size as the asparagus and reserve.

This ingenious way of serving leftover turkey will become a family favorite.
Roast turkey and mashed potatoes were made for one another.
Turkey Ragù tossed with light, fluffy potato gnocchi is its equal.

1. The soffritto takes about 15 minutes. Melt the butter in a non-stick Dutch oven or deep pot. Over low heat saute the onion and celery until beginning to soften, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the pancetta and crumbled sausage and saute for about 5 minutes, without browning edges. Add the whole garlic clove and cubed roast turkey and saute until completely hot to the touch and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Do not stir often or the turkey will break apart since it is previously roasted.

2. Cooking time is 20 minutes. Increase the heat to high. Pour in the wine and reduce until almost completely evaporated, without stirring, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomato concentrate and stir well. (It adds appealing pink color, and enriches the flavor.) Pour in the broth and bring to a boil. Decrease heat to low, and season to taste with freshly grated nutmeg. Simmer the ragù until fragrant and the broth reduces a little and thickens, about 15 minutes, stirring twice during this time, without breaking apart the turkey. Discard the whole garlic clove. Season to taste with salt.

Stop at this point if you want to. Cover and allow the ragù to rest up to 1 hour.
Set-up the dining area, have the serving bowls ready for plating.

3A. Finish the Ragù when Boiling the Gnocchi: Pour the cream into the ragù and simmer for 5 minutes over low heat. Add one or two handfuls of grated aged cheese to the ragù and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. (*Begin boiling the gnocchi.) Add the pre-cooked asparagus and red pepper to the ragù. Cook for 2 minutes until they are hot to the touch.

3B. Boiling the Gnocchi: (Before you pour the cream into the ragù, start boiling the water for the gnocchi.) In a deep pot, bring lightly salted water to a rolling boil. Add the gnocchi, stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking together. While boiling, scoop out 1 cup (or 237 ml) cooking water and reserve. Boil the gnocchi until firm al dente because it continues to cook when combined with the ragù. To test, scoop out one piece, cut it in half to see if the center is just cooked through. Usually cooking gnocchi takes from 3 to 5 minutes.

Serving the Ragù: Increase the heat to high for the ragù. Drain the gnocchi leaving a little water clinging to it, and immediately add to the simmering ragù. Toss the gnocchi with the ragù. Add some reserved cooking water as needed to moisten the gnocchi and ragù. Do not add the full cup unless necessary. When ragù lightly coats the gnocchi making it glisten, after cooking for 2 to 3 minutes, serve immediately. Enjoy every luscious bite!

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