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gnocchi bolognese in speckled bowl with piece of bread on the side

Cozy Gnocchi Bolognese

  • Author: Quin Liburd
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Main Dishes
  • Method: Stovetop, Braise
  • Cuisine: Italian American


This robust Gnocchi Bolognese is the ultimate comfort food. You’ll find a super-rich bolognese sauce that is the heart of this recipe. It’s made with beef, pork, sautéed aromatics, tomato-forward ingredients, fresh herbs, and more. Slowly simmered and then paired with pillowy soft gnocchi to soak up all that bolognese richness!


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 ounces diced pancetta
  • 8 cloves of garlic, minced/pressed, or 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1 lb lean ground beef (I use grass-fed)
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry red wine, such as Chianti, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Merlot
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • herb blend, I use 3-4 sprigs each fresh rosemary & thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups chicken or beef broth

To finish & assemble gnocchi bolognese:

  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 32 ounces potato gnocchi, I use shelf-stable


  1. Sauté the mirepoix: Heat the oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, gently swirl the pot to evenly coat the bottom. Toss in the carrot, celery, and onion. Sauté the mirepoix until tender and golden, stirring often, about 6-7 minutes.
  2. Add the flavor agents: Then add the diced pancetta into the pot and cook along with the mirepoix until golden, about 2-3 minutes. The pancetta will render its fat, be sure to stir every so often for even cooking. Then add in the garlic and continue cooking together until the garlic is fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Brown the meat & season: Create a well in the center of the pot and add in the ground beef and ground pork. Use a wooden utensil to break the meat into pieces and stir to combine with the mirepoix. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and completely cooked through, about 8-9 minutes. Then season the meat mixture with salt/pepper- to taste, chipotle powder, dried oregano, and smoked paprika- stirring well to fully combine. Add the tomato paste into the pot and stir into the meat/mirepoix mixture to coat. Continue cooking for another 1-2 minutes to meld. 
  4. Deglaze the pot: Increase the heat to medium-high, pour in the red wine to deglaze. Use a wooden utensil to stir the wine into the mixture, scraping up any bits that have collected on the bottom of the pot. Allow the mixture to cook until the wine has mostly absorbed into the meat mixture, about 4-5 minutes.
  5. Build the braise: Add the diced tomatoes, fresh herb blend, bay leaves, and broth into the pot, stirring well to combine.
  6. Slow simmer: Reduce the heat to low and cover the pot with a lid. Let the bolognese sauce simmer and braise for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, going back to the pot to stir every so often. 
  7. Finish bolognese sauceNote: after braising, you may need to skim off any excess fat from the top of the sauce. Use a large serving spoon or small liquid measuring cup to do so, as needed. Remove the herb stems and bay leaves from the pot. Then stir in the parmesan cheese and cream until combined. Remove the finished bolognese sauce from heat and set aside while you cook the gnocchi.
  8. Cook gnocchi: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the gnocchi according to your package directions. Note: I recommend undercooking the gnocchi by just 1 minute since it’ll be going straight into the still warm bolognese sauce. After cooking, remove about 1/2 cup of the gnocchi water and set aside.
  9. Assemble gnocchi bolognese: Transfer parboiled gnocchi with a slotted spoon directly into the bolognese sauce pot and gently toss to coat all the gnocchi, bring it all together beautifully. At this stage, adjust the sauce until it’s just right to your liking. For a thinner sauce consistency, stream a splash of the reserved gnocchi water into the pot until the desired consistency is reached. To thicken sauce, sprinkle in more grated parmesan cheese.
  10. Serve gnocchi bolognese immediately in pasta bowls and top with extra freshly grated parmesan cheese, if desired. Enjoy!


  1. Please read the blog post in its entirety for more tips + tricks.

Keywords: bolognese, gnocchi, gnocchi sauce, how to make bolognese sauce, bolognese recipe, Italian food