Gnocchi With Oxtails
Chef Mario Batali of Babbo, New York, NY
Adapted by

Yield: 12 Servings

My kids both love to be in the kitchen, which makes it a lot of fun to cook for them. Although they're still a little too young to sauté mushrooms or dice onions, they're helpful nonetheless. Benno, who is almost three, will put on an apron and stand on a stool next to me, handing me things I need and asking questions. He's also a great help in tasting and adjusting seasoning. Leo, at age one, provides our entertainment while we cook, and likes to put dishes in the dishwasher - and sometimes take them out again.

Benno and Leo are a parent's - and a chef's - dream in that they really go for food that most kids their age wouldn't touch: spinach, goat's milk yogurt, raw sliced garlic, spicy sauces. The white bean bruschetta mixture I serve at PO is one of the first foods that Benno ever ate, and both boys still love it. They're also huge pasta fans, and the gnocchi with oxtails is a favorite. The soft bitew of the gnocchi in combination with slow-braised meat makes an easy-to eat dish for young kids, even while they're teething!


  • 2 oxtails
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Flour, for dredging
  • 2 medium onions, cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 4 cups red wine, optional. You may use stock or water instead.
  • 1 bunch thyme leaves
  • 1/2 recipe basic gnocchi (as given by Mario Batali)
  • Asiago cheese

Preheat the oven to 375° F.

Trim excess fat from oxtails. Cut oxtails in half through vertebrae (or have your butcher do this). Season oxtails liberally with salt and pepper and dredge with flour. In a 6 to 8-quart heavy- bottomed casserole, heat the olive oil until smoking. Add oxtails and cook until browned, turning often, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove to a plate and set aside.

To the same pan, add the onions, and, stirring constantly, cook until lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Add wine, stock and herbs and bring to a boil. Return the oxtails to the pot, submerging them in the liquid, and bring to a boil. Cover the casserole with a tight-fitting lid or aluminum foil and cook in the oven for 1 to 1 and one-half hours, or until meat is falling off the bone.

Remove the pan from the oven and carefully remove the oxtails.

Remove meat from bones and discard bones. Shred meat into small pieces. With a ladle, remove fat from the surface of the sauce. Add oxtail meat. Cook to ragu consistency. Season.

Bring about 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons salt.

In a 12 to 14- inch saute pan, heat ragu (sauce) over medium heat until warmed through.

Cook the gnocchi in the boiling water at a low boil until they float aggressively to the surface. Drain gnocchi and add to saute pan with oxtail ragu. Toss gently over medium heat to coat gnocchi with ragu, 1 to 2 minutes. Divide among 6 heated bowls and grate Asiago over each bowl. Serve immediately.


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