Potato Gnocchi with Pork Ragù

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. We have put together a few dishes for that romatic dinner at home.  


Potato Gnocchi with Pork Ragù 

2 lb. medium-size russet potatoes (about 3)

1/3 c. all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, plus more for working

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 T. olive oil

2 cloves garlic, pressed

1 lb. ground pork

1 T. tomato paste

1/2 c. dry white wine

1/2 c. chicken stock

1/4 c. fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

2 T. fresh chives, chopped

1 T. fresh tarragon, chopped

Grated Parmesan, for serving


Preheat oven to 350°F. Prick potatoes all over with a fork and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until very tender, 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes; let cool slightly. Halve lengthwise and scoop flesh directly into a food mill set over a bowl (discard skins). Mill the potatoes (alternately, use a handheld ricer).

Add flour, egg, and 1 teaspoon salt; gently stir until the mixture comes together (do not overmix). Divide dough into three pieces and cover with a clean kitchen towel.

Dust a baking sheet with flour. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll into a 1-inch-thick rope with your hands. Cut the rope into 1-inch pieces and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Refrigerate while making sauce (or freeze up to 1 month).

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute. Add pork and season with salt and pepper. Cook, breaking pork up into small pieces, until browned, 4 to 6 minutes (drain off excess fat, if necessary). Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, until pork starts to get crispy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add wine and simmer until mostly evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes. Add stock and bring to a simmer; remove from heat. Stir in parsley, chives, and tarragon.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook gnocchi until they begin to float to the surface, 2 to 4 minutes; drain. Serve topped with sauce and sprinkled with Parmesan.


Steakhouse Sheet Pan Dinner for Two

2 T. unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing the sheet pan

4 tail-on jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves

3 small cloves garlic, minced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 c. grated Parmesan

2/3 c. heavy cream

1 lb. Yukon gold potatoes (about 6), sliced into 1/8-inch rounds

2 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature

10-ounce pkg, frozen spinach, thawed & squeezed completely dry

2/3 c. shredded Gruyere (about 5 oz.)

2 (8-oz) New York strip steaks (1 to 1-1/2 in. thick)


Position an oven rack in the top third of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees F. Lightly grease a third of an 18-by-13-inch sheet pan with butter.

Toss the shrimp with the melted butter, 1 teaspoon thyme, a third of the minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper in a medium bowl until well coated; set aside.

Mix the Parmesan, 1/3 cup heavy cream, remaining 1 teaspoon thyme, half the remaining garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper in a small bowl.

Arrange half of the potato slices in a single, overlapping layer on the buttered part of the sheet pan and pour the heavy cream mixture over the top. Top with the remaining potato slices. Cover the potatoes with foil and bake until tender when pierced with a fork, 15 to 17 minutes.

Whisk together the cream cheese, remaining 1/3 cup heavy cream and remaining garlic in a medium bowl until smooth. Fold in the spinach until well coated. Divide the mixture between two 4-inch ramekins and press the spinach down so that it is flat and the cream mixture is pooling a bit on top.

Remove the pan from the oven, remove the foil and sprinkle the potatoes with the Gruyere. Put the steaks down the middle of the pan and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Put the ramekins on one end of the empty third of the pan so that they are side by side.

Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the middle of the steak registers 95 degrees F, 12 to 14 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and turn on the broiler. Create 2 hearts with the shrimp on the pan beside the ramekins by connecting the tails. Broil until the steaks start to turn brown in some spots, an instant-read thermometer inserted into the middle of the steak reaches 115 degrees F, the shrimp are cooked through and no longer opaque and the cheese on the potatoes turns golden and starts to crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes. Slice and serve the steak on plates alongside the shrimp, potatoes and creamed spinach.


Flourless Chocolate Cake


Cooking spray, for pan

6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped

1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, cut into large chunks

1 tsp. instant espresso powder

1/4 c. hot water

1 c. sugar

4 large eggs

3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch process)



1/2 c. heavy cream

1 c. semisweet chocolate chips

Raspberries, for serving


Preheat oven to 350° and grease an 8” springform pan with cooking spray.

Make cake: Place a small saucepan filled halfway with water over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Place bittersweet chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over the simmering pot. Stir until chocolate and butter are completely melted. Turn off heat and remove bowl from saucepan.

Dissolve espresso powder in hot water. Add sugar and espresso to melted chocolate and whisk until completely combined then add eggs and whisk to combine. Stir in cocoa powder. 

Pour batter into prepared springform pan and bake until just set in the middle and a thin crust forms, about 35 minutes. 

Let cake cool for 15 minutes, then remove sides of springform pan. Let cake cool completely.

Meanwhile, make ganache: Place heavy cream in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Place chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl then pour hot cream over chocolate chips. Let sit 1 minute, then whisk to combine.

Pour ganache over cake and smooth with an offset spatula. Place in refrigerator until set, 10 minutes.

Serve with raspberries.


Valentine’s Slice-and-Bake Cinnamon Heart Shortbread Cookies

1 c. butter, softened

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 c. confectioners’ sugar

1/2 c. heart-shaped cinnamon candies, ground into a fine powder

1/4 c. cornstarch

1-3/4 c. all-purpose flour, divided


Beat butter in a large bowl with a hand mixer until fluffy; add vanilla extract, confectioners’ sugar, ground cinnamon candies, and cornstarch and mix with hand mixer until combined.

Incorporate flour 1/4 cup at a time, mixing with your hands until all flour is used and dough comes together.

Divide dough into halves; roll each into an 8-inch cylinder. Wrap each cylinder in waxed paper and freeze until firm, at least 1 hour to overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove dough from freezer and let thaw just until slightly softened.

Cut dough into 1/4-inch slices and arrange onto baking sheets.

Bake in preheated oven until firm along the edges but not yet browned, about 10 minutes. Cool cookies on racks for 5 minutes before moving to a rack to cool completely.


CINfully Delicious Chocolate Cupcakes

1 (18.25 oz.) pkg. chocolate cake mix

1 c. milk

3 eggs

1/2 c. butter, melted

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. cinnamon sugar, or as needed

1/2 c. butter

1/2 c. butter-flavored shortening

1 pinch sea salt

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 T. ground cinnamon

1 T. unsweetened cocoa powder

3 c. confectioners’ sugar

1/4 c. milk

2 c. confectioners’ sugar, or more as needed


Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.

Beat together the chocolate cake mix, 1 cup milk, eggs, 1/2 cup melted butter, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in a bowl with an electric mixer on low speed until moist. Beat for 2 more minutes on medium speed.

Fill each muffin cup about 2/3 full of batter.

Sprinkle the cupcakes with cinnamon sugar.

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 15 minutes.

Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.

Cream together 1/2 cup butter and shortening in a bowl until smooth.

Stir in sea salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, cocoa powder, and 3 cups confectioners’ sugar.

Stir in milk.

Mix in 2 more cups confectioners’ sugar or as needed until desired consistency is achieved.

Spread the frosting on the cooled cupcakes.


Quote of the Week:

“There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart.” 

~ Jane Austen


The Drummer and The Wright County Journal Press

PO Box 159
108 Central Ave.
Buffalo MN 55313


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