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Gnocchi in a Chicken Liver & Heart Tomato Ragu

January 13, 2023 • 0 comments

Gnocchi in a Chicken Liver & Heart Tomato Ragu
This is not your Grandma's liver recipe. This liver and heart ragu is rich and flavorful. While I made this with store-bought Gnocchi, you can make it homemade or use whatever type of pasta you prefer. Use as much or little of the chili peppers as you like.
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Servings: 6-8


  • (1.5 lbs.) Chicken Liver & Heart
  • (3 oz.) Pancetta, finely chopped
  • (1) Medium Red Onion, diced
  • (3-4) Cloves Garlic, roughly chopped
  • (1/4 - 1 tsp.) Crushed Red Pepper (depending on spice level desired)
  • (2 Tbsp.) Tomato Paste
  • (14.5 oz) Crushed Tomatoes with Basil
  • (2/3 c) Red Wine
  • (1 c) Chicken Stock
  • (1 1/2 tsp.) Dried Oregano
  • (2) Dried Chile De Arbol Peppers, sliced open (optional)
  • (16 oz) Potato Gnocchi
  • (1-2 Tbsp.) Olive Oil
  • (1 1/2 tsp.) Salt
  • Garnish
  • (2-3 oz) Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano or Parmesan cheese
  • (3-4 leaves) Fresh Basil, finely chopped
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


1. Dice the red onion, roughly chop the garlic, cut the dried pepper pods open and remove the seeds (if using the peppers). Set it all aside.

2. Chop the pancetta and set aside.

3. Rinse and clean chicken hearts, then cut them in half vertically. If you have never cleaned chicken hearts, a Google search will provide some good videos showing exactly how to do it. You will probably need to cut off less than you think you do.

4. Rinse and clean the chicken liver. Again, if you've not done this before, find a video or two that will show you what to do. Then submerge the whole livers in a bowl of milk and let sit for 30-60 minutes while the rest of the dish is cooking. This will help remove some of the bitter flavors often associated with liver.

5. Press Saute' on the electronic pressure cooker and wait for the screen to show Hot. If you don't have a pressure cooker, this can also be made on the stove.

6. Add the olive oil and allow it to heat up. Once warmed add the pancetta, onions, garlic, chili peppers, and a couple of pinches of salt. Saute until fragrant and the onions are slightly softened approximately 3-5 minutes.

7. Add the chicken hearts moving them around for a light sear. They will begin to brown. 

8. Add the crushed red pepper, tomato paste, oregano, and red wine. Scrape any cooked bits off the bottom of the pot while the hearts are sauteing and a little of the wine burns off for about 3 minutes.

9. Turn off the saute' mode. Add the crushed tomatoes and chicken stock to the pot and give it all a good stir.

10. Close and seal the pressure cooker lid. Pressure cook on high pressure for 25 minutes. When done, leave it to depressurize naturally for 10 minutes. If you don't have a pressure cooker, this can be done in a wide-based pot on medium heat on the stove. The hearts will need to simmer for another 30-40 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 165* F.

11. When the natural pressure release is complete, open the lid. Next, remove the chicken hearts with a slotted spoon and the chili peppers if they were added. Press the saute' button. Add the chopped chicken liver and stir it in. Let cook until the liver has lost its raw color, stirring occasionally.

12. While the liver is cooking, get out a large pot. Add water and about 1 tsp. of salt to the pot. Heat on high until it comes to a gentle boil.

13. While the water is coming to a boil, chop the chicken hearts. Next return them to the pressure cooker pot and stir them in. Turn off the pressure cooker.

14. Open the package of gnocchi and separate them in a bowl. Add a spatula's worth of gnocchi to the boiling water. When the gnocchi floats back up to the top let them cook for 2 minutes (or consult the back of your package for specific cooking times). Use a slotted spoon to remove the cooked gnocchi and add it to the sauce pot. Continue doing this until all of the gnocchi is cooked. You don't want to make the gnocchi too far ahead of when you will add it to the sauce so they don't become overcooked and gummy. Reserve some of the pasta water in case needed for the sauce. Of course, you may substitute with a different pasta if you prefer.

NOTE: If the sauce has become too thick for your liking, ladle in a little bit of pasta water until it is the desired thickness.

15. Serve swiftly and garnish with shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano or Parmesan cheese and finely chopped fresh basil.

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