Deconstructed gnocchi with venison bolognese

Deconstructed gnocchi with venison bolognese

A Year of Practiculture
Rohan Anderson & Kate Berry

One night, a weeknight, I promised the kids gnocchi with a meaty venison bolognese. Most afternoons after the school pick-up, I get distracted with chores and then get to cooking time and have one of those ‘Oh shit!’ moments when I realise I’ve run out of time to make the meal for which I had grand plans. This is how this meal was created, from an ‘Oh shit!’ moment.

Now deconstructed gnocchi is normally something you’d find at a Michelin-starred restaurant. It takes a lot of effort to make and can be quite expensive to order. It’s often only attempted by experienced chefs, but I’m happy to share my secrets, as I have a great shortcut.

So what is deconstructed gnocchi? Well, obviously it’s derived from the gnocchi plant itself. The actual deconstruction process that chefs tend to use involves laying the gnocchi on a bed of dry ice for 16.5 hours, then using a blowtorch to heat the gnocchi to extreme temperatures until it begins to crumble. It’s at this stage that it’s transformed into a dust-like state. It’s then placed in a rehydrating vacuum machine (very expensive), which turns it into a foamy substance. This foam is then layered on copper trays for refrigeration. When someone orders the deconstructed gnocchi, the chef simply spoons some of that substance from the tray and reheats it in a frying pan (with a glug of olive oil).

Even though it’s a simple enough process, I’ve come up with a much faster method. Instead of making the actual gnocchi, deconstructing it then reanimating it, I simply boil potatoes and mash them. The kids have yet to notice the difference.


Quantity Ingredient


Quantity Ingredient
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
3 onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
handful parsley
500g minced venison
250ml red wine
725g tomato passata
1 teaspoon smoked pimenton
3 tablespoons thyme, chopped
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon cumin
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

Deconstructed gnocchi

Quantity Ingredient
1kg potatoes, peeled and halved
200g butter
60ml full-cream milk
salt, to taste


  1. To make the bolognese, heat a generous glug of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat, brown the onions for 5 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  2. Cut the stems from the parsley (reserving the leaves), and chop them finely, then add to the pan. Add the meat and brown it for a few minutes. Splash in the wine and cook for another minute or so while you chop the parsley leaves, saving a few as a garnish. Add the passata, pimentón, thyme, parsley leaves, chilli powder and cumin, then simmer for 30 minutes over low–medium heat. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. To make the deconstructed gnocchi, boil the potatoes until they’re soft enough to pierce easily with a fork. Drain, transfer to a large mixing bowl and add the butter and milk. Using a potato masher (you can easily get these from kitchen supply stores …) mash to a soft creamy consistency. Season with salt.
  4. Spoon out a portion of the deconstructed gnocchi, then ladle over that fine bolognese and garnish with the reserved parsley.
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