Lamb Sausage Ragout over Gnocchi

As I said in my post about the Specialty Food Show, I got some samples from different vendors. Today I decided to take two of them to make dinner.

The lamb sausage is from Marcel & Henri. They are an award winning charcuterie based in the Bay Area. Here is a little of their history from The Nibble, which by the way, has a great summary of charcuterie and pates.
Charcutier Henri Lapuyade, founder of Marcel et Henri, started to make French pâtés in the United States in 1960. Beginning with a few recipes from his native France, he opened a small shop on San Francisco’s Russian Hill. Business thrived, his quality became renowned. In 1982 the French government awarded Henri the title of Chevalier de l’Ordre du Mérite Agricole for carrying on the great culinary tradition in the United States, and in 1997 he was promoted to Officier de l’Ordre du Mérite Agricole.

So based on the above, you know it's gonna be good. The sausage I was given was already cooked but I used it in the recipe anyway.

The gnocchi came from an Italian exhibitor, De Cecco pastas. You would know the blue and yellow boxes of their fine pastas in the grocery stores. The gnocchi were wonderfully packaged with just a slight dusting of meal to keep them separated. The cooked up nicely.

The recipe is from Emeril Lagasse. Emeril's Lamb Sausage Ragout with Portobello Mushrooms Since I don't do mushrooms, they are left out of my version. Even though this ragout is really too chunky to go with gnocchi, I wanted to use the two samples together and it still worked out deliciously. The finished product was a great contrast of the chunky and still slightly crunchy veggies of the ragout with the pillowy softness of the gnocchi. I will definitely make this again.

Lamb Sausage Ragout
* 2 pounds Italian style lamb sausage, (substitute with regular Italian sausage), cut into 1-inch pieces
* Olive oil
* 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
* 1 cup chopped onions
* 1/2 cup chopped celery
* 1/2 cup chopped carrots
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
* 10 plum tomatoes, halves and pureed in the food processor (about 4 to 5 cups puree)
* 1/2 cup dry red wine
* 1 pound gnocchi
* 1/4 pound Pecorino Foje de Noce

Heat a large Dutch over medium-high heat. Add enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. Add the sausage and cook just until well browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add the onions, garlic, celery, and carrots and cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add the crushed red pepper flakes. Add the fresh tomato puree and the red wine and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Bring a large pasta pot of water to a boil. Season with salt. Add the gnocchi and cook according to package directions, or until al dente, about 3 minutes. Drain well.