It’s a problem. I see a package of gnocchi in a store, and I must buy it. My hand reaches for it and it’s in my shopping basket before I even know what’s happening. I immediately envision a dinner that is everything a weeknight meal should be: easy, delicious, filling, and at least moderately healthy.
Technically, gnocchi are potato dumplings, but I usually treat them just like pasta, except that they should not be boiled for anywhere near as long. They’re done as soon as they float to the top. But otherwise, just like pasta, they can be enjoyed with just a little bit of tomato sauce and a sprinkling of cheese. And also just like pasta, they are even better–and healthier–when you can add more veggies. That’s exactly what this recipe does, by adding onions, spinach, and cherry tomatoes.
I love that this recipe uses fresh mozzarella cheese. It makes the dish much creamier. I also love that there’s a “secret” middle layer of fresh mozzarella!
I recommend slicing the cherry tomatoes in half. I did not do that, and it was hard to tell the difference between the gnocchi and the tomatoes because they were both smothered in sauce. (Sometimes you just want to know what you’re about to eat!) Slicing the tomatoes in half solves that.
If you’ve never had gnocchi before, pick some up, make this dish, and never look back. Or if you’re used to cooking with gnocchi, add this to the repertoire! My husband and I agreed that it was the best meal we’ve had lately.
- 1 lb package gnocchi
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup chopped sweet onion
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 1 15-oz can tomato sauce, divided
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1 cup fresh cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a casserole dish and set aside.
- Boil water in a large pot. Add gnocchi, cook according to package directions, drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent (about 3 minutes). Add garlic and cook until softened. Add spinach and cook until wilted (about 3 minutes). Add 1 tablespoon tomato sauce, plus salt, pepper, basil and nutmeg. Cook 30 seconds more. Add the cherry tomatoes, tomato sauce and balsamic vinegar. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat. Stir in milk and cooked gnocchi.Transfer half of this mixture to the greased casserole dish. Top with half of the mozzarella cheese. Add remaining mixture and top with remainder of mozzarella.
- Bake for 10 minutes. If you want it to brown on top (super tasty!), broil it for a few minutes (I toasted it on the "broil" setting in my toaster oven).