In a 6 to 8-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat.
Season the beef cubes well with salt and pepper and brown them over high heat on all sides. Remove the beef from the pan and add the onion, celery, and garlic. Sweat over medium heat until vegetables are translucent. Return the beef to the pan and stir in the tomatoes and wine. Add the thyme, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, and salt and pepper, to taste, and simmer over medium-low heat for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until the beef cubes are falling apart. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and remove from heat. Remove the beef and, when it is cool enough to handle, shred the meat with a fork and return to the sauce. Simmer for an additional 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the gnocchi according to the recipe, then preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of salt. Cook the gnocchi in the boiling water for 1 minute, then drain, and place in a lightly greased casserole. Pour the beef sauce over the gnocchi to cover, top with the grated cheese and cook in the oven 10 to 15 minutes, until the ragu is bubbling at the edges and the cheese is browned. Let sit for 10 minutes, then serve.
Boil the whole potatoes until they are soft (about 45 minutes). While still warm, peel and pass through vegetable mill onto clean pasta board.
Set 6 quarts of water to boil in a large spaghetti pot. Set up ice bath with 6 cups ice and 6 cups water near boiling water.
Make well in center of potatoes and sprinkle all over with flour, using all the flour. Place egg and salt in center of well and using a fork, stir into flour and potatoes, just like making normal pasta. Once egg is mixed in, bring dough together, kneading gently until a ball is formed. Knead gently another 4 minutes until ball is dry to touch.
Roll baseball-sized ball of dough into 3/4-inch diameter dowels and cut dowels into 1-inch long pieces. Flick pieces off a fork or the concave side of cheese grater until dowel is finished. Drop these pieces into boiling water and cook until they float (about 1 minute). Meanwhile, continue with remaining dough, forming dowels, cutting into 1-inch pieces, and flicking off of fork. As gnocchi float to top of boiling water, remove them to ice bath. Continue until all have been cooled off. Let sit several minutes in bath and drain from ice and water. Toss with 1/2 cup canola oil and store covered in refrigerator up to 48 hours until ready to serve.
Recipe copyright 2001, Mario Batali. All Rights Reserved.