Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Chorizo Ragu

28 Dec

In keeping with my mission statement of combining Italian and Mexican cuisine on one plate, this week I bring you Sweet Potato Gnocchi with a Chorizo Ragu!  We all know gnocchi as a thick, delicious, potato based Italian dumpling. Like most Italian dishes, there is a great amount of variation in recipes across all of the regions of Italy.  My family has always made the potato and flour version.  Normally in Italy, gnocchi are a first course dish. This dish is made entirely hecho a mano (handmade) so plan to spend some time in the kitchen! The result is well worth it; a rich, fulfilling dish of Italian gnocchi with a slightly spicy, tender Mexican chorizo ragu. I recommend this first course to accompany a main of Grilled Salmon!

Mexican Chorizo

  • 2 – 2 ½ lbs. of ground pork (use the pork shoulder)
  • 8 Chile Guajillo
  • 6 Chile Ancho
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled.
  • 2 tablespoons of kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/3 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • ½ tablespoon ground cumin
  • ¾ tablespoons oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dry marjoram
  • ½ teaspoon coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • 6 cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  1. Chop the pork into cubes and put into the freezer for about 20 – 30 minutes to make it easier to work with.
  2. Put the salt, paprika, bay leaves, black pepper, cumin, oregano, marjoram, coriander, thyme, cloves, allspice into a spice grinder and grind them into a nice fine powder.
  3. Rinse the guajillo and ancho chiles with some water and toast on a comal. Then place into very hot water and cover. Let them soak for 30 minutes.

    Toast the Chiles

    Toasting the Chiles

  4. Remove the pork and season with the spice powder, make sure it is coated well using all the spice powder. (I like to grind the pork seasoned as it ensures a nice mix)
  5. After 30 minutes, remove the seeds, stems, and veins from the chiles and place in a blender with the garlic and the white vinegar. Blend into a smooth puree.
  6. Take you grinder and use the coarse grind plate and grind the pork into a large mixing bowl.

    Grind Pork

    Fresh Ground Pork Shoulder

  7. Add the chile mixture to the pork and mix well. Cover and place into the refrigerator for 24 hours.


    Fresh Chorizo before "curing"

  8. After 24 hours take a bit, form into a patty and fry to check seasonings. Adjust seasonings if necessary (I have never adjusted them).
  9. At this point you can use as is or stuff into casings.


Chorizo Ragu

  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 lbs. fresh pork chorizo
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 – 28 oz. cans of San Maranzano tomatoes (whole, peeled, drained)
  1. Take the chopped onion, garlic, carrots, and celery and put in a food processor and pulse until it’s a nice dice (this is your mirepoix!).
  2. Take the drained tomatoes and break them up with your hands or a potato masher. Set aside.
  3. Take a large saucepan and medium-high heat and add the olive oil, once it is hot add the mirepoix (your onion, carrot, celery, garlic). Sautee for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the chorizo and stir to break it up, add the salt and cook for about 10 minutes.
  5. Add the wine and cook for about 2 minutes.
  6. Add the milk and cook for about 5 minutes.
  7. Add the tomato and bring to a slow boil, then turn heat down and simmer over low heat for about 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Chorizo Rag

Chorizo Ragu

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

  • 2 lbs. sweet potatoes
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp Nutmeg
  1. Quarter potatoes and steam in a large stockpot by placing a colander in pot with about six inches of water. Steam for about 35-40 minutes or until very tender.
  2. Once cool enough to touch but still warm, remove skins and mash well with a fork or use a potato ricer, add salt and pepper to season.
  3. Take 1 cup of the flour and place on a floured work surface, make a well in center and spoon in the mashed potato mixture. Continue to work into a dough, adding just enough flour to hold the dough together.  The dough should take about 2 ½ cups of flour total (give or take a ¼ cup).
  4. Once dough is well formed, roll out into a rectangle and divide into 6 equal pieces.
  5. Roll each piece into 20-inch-long rope (about 1 inch in diameter), sprinkling with flour as needed if sticky.
  6. Cut each rope into about 20 pieces.
  7. Roll each piece over tines of the back of a fork to indent.  Transfer to floured baking sheet.
  8. Bring large pot of water to boil; add 2 tablespoons salt and return to boil. Working in batches, boil gnocchi for about 5-6 minutes (once they float to the surface, cook for another 2 minutes).

    Sweet Potato Gnocchi with a Chorizo Ragu

8 Responses to “Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Chorizo Ragu”

  1. chefeye March 20, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

    Well impressed you made your own chorizo!
    Kitchen aid in action again here.. 😉

    Like the sweet potato gnocchi idea too 🙂

    • cjdelgrosso March 20, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

      Yes the kitchen aid is THE kitchen tool to have!

    • cjdelgrosso March 20, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

      Plus I cannot find good chorizo here!

      • chefeye March 22, 2012 at 7:57 am #

        Im sure it tastes better knowing you made it yourself!

      • cjdelgrosso March 22, 2012 at 10:43 am #


  2. Robbiegel April 4, 2012 at 5:41 pm #

    Well, I believe that you have successfully melded both Italian and Mexican foods with this one! Sounds wonderful! I grew up eating Italian and lived in NM for about 16yrs so I truly appreciate both food cultures! Glad I stumbled upon your blog!

    • cjdelgrosso April 4, 2012 at 6:21 pm #

      I am glad you stumbled upon my blog also! Thanks for the great comments!
      I love both food cultures so much that I just have to eat them at the same time!!!


  1. How do you Ragu? - Ten Thousand Tastebuds | Ten Thousand Tastebuds - April 24, 2012

    […] 4. Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Chorizo Ragu […]

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