I just recently noticed something about myself: I have only lived in cities that start with the letter “C.” Examples: Cincinnati, Charlotte, Charleston, and now… CHICAGO! I’m so excited about this next step, and how fitting that Chicago fits in with my only “C” letter cities. ;) I do realize that I picked perhaps the worst time to move… is it problematic that I’m already counting down for spring and have yet to survive my first Chicago winter?
I ended up finding a little studio apartment in an area that I love in Chicago. My parents drove in and helped me move everything into the little 256 square foot shoe box. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without them… Perhaps I didn’t realize how much stuff I had in comparison to how small my new apartment actually was. Needless to say, they kept me staying positive while helping me purge quite a bit. Everything has a place in the new spot and fits perfectly.
Something that I was clearly worried about was my new kitchen. It is TINY. (4ftx7ft to be exact…) No dishwasher, no garbage disposal, not a ton of counter space or shelves… you can see the issues here for someone who LOVES to cook. My mom and I were determined to make everything fit and… we did! It was a project to say the least, but there is no kitchen project my mom can’t handle. Now, the kitchen is one of my favorite parts about my new apartment.
I was so excited thinking about the first meal I was going to cook in my new space. I had my sister and brother-in-law, Jackie & Liam, over for dinner, and we decided to make a recipe out of Skinnytaste’s new cookbook, One & Done. It’s her newest book, and all of the recipes look AMAZING. If you don’t own this cookbook, I would highly recommend buying it. (Would make a great Christmas gift! :) )The other great thing about it is that every recipe is made in one dish, super easy for weeknight meals! Jackie was flipping through the cookbook the night before and spotted the “Quickest Gnocchi Bolognese.” It looked way too good to pass up, and I decided it was the perfect thing to whip up for them!
I posted the picture of the finished meal on my Insta stories that night, and skinnytaste REPOSTED IT on her page! Big day for me. I screamed.
I love a good gnocchi recipe, and this one definitely did not disappoint. It’s a great cold weather meal that you can whip up in no time. I hope it hits the spot for you this winter! Enjoy friends!
2 oz. pancetta, chopped
1 tsp. unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2/3 cup chopped celery
2/3 cup chopped carrot
1 garlic clove, minced
1 lb. 93% lean ground beef
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
1/2 cup fat-free milk
1 lb. dried potato gnocchi
1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg
2 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
1 bay leaf
6 tbsp. part-skim ricotta cheese ( I actually ended up using whole milk… you need to treat yourself every once in a while)
2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
Freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese or Parmesan cheese
Heat a dutch oven on medium high heat and add pancetta. Cook until the fat is rendered, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add the butter, onion, celery, carrot, and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the ground beef, 1/2 tsp. of the salt, and pepper to taste.
Brown the meat, using a wooden spoon to break it into small pieces as it cooks, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until it reduces, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the milk, gnocchi, and nutmeg. Add the crushed tomatoes, bay leaf, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then cook, covered, over medium low heat for about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Cook the gnocchi separately according to package directions and add to the bolognese sauce to heat everything through.
Serve with dollops of ricotta, grated parmesan cheese and basil.