When I was younger my parents required that the entire family be together at dinner time. We talked about our day or chatted about whatever we wanted. As a kid, I just saw it as family time, but now I realize how important that time was to connect with one another. Now as a married woman, I’ve kept the same tradition going. No matter how busy we may get, my husband and I always know that we have dinnertime to together and that makes us happy. We may have deep philosophical conversations or talk about the weather or anything in between. There’s something about family dinnertime that makes even the busiest of bees slow down.
Yesterday my husband and I enjoyed each other’s company over dinner while eating this delicious gnocchi with a tomato basil sauce and covered in mozzarella cheese.
Tomato Basil Baked Gnocchi Recipe
(About 4 servings)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil (divided per the directions)
- 1 package (about 17.5 ounces) gnocchi
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped (roughly one small onion)
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup water
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, sliced
- Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.
- In a large skillet, on Medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of oil.
- Add in the gnocchi, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.
- Transfer the gnocchi to a plate.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the skillet you just used for the gnocchi.
- Add in the chopped onion and cook it until soft.
- Stir in the minced garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for about 30 seconds.
- Stir in the crushed tomatoes, water, salt, and pepper, and cook for about 10 minutes or until the sauce is slightly thickened.
- Reduce the heat to Low, stir in the chopped basil and gnocchi, and cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until the gnocchi is tender.
- Pour the gnocchi mixture into an 8 x 8 baking dish.
- Lay the mozzarella cheese slices on top of the gnocchi mixture.
- Bake it until the cheese is browned. It took about 10 minutes in my oven.
Toasted gnocchi tastes awesome. What? I had to test to it… You try holding back. 😉
The sauce is a very simple tomato based sauce. It will start off thin, but it thickens up a bit in short order.
Add the browned gnocchi and fresh basil once the sauce has thickened and stir it all up.
Mmm, fresh mozzarella. It really tastes better than non-fresh mozzarella cheese. (Of course, any mozzarella cheese will work if you don’t like or have the fresh stuff.) Do you know what’s better than fresh mozzarella cheese?
Toasty roasty fresh mozzarella cheese!
Look at that puff of steam! Sure you could use pasta in this dish, but why use pasta, when you can have gnocchi! Gnocchi is a variety of soft and chewy pasta. It can be made from bunches of different things. The kind I used was potato and cheese (yes, we are still talking about pasta here) and they were delish. They remind me of small dumplings more than pasta, but you don’t see me complaining.
In general I tend to prefer my pasta lightly sauced and my husband prefers his to look a bit more like a tomato lake. This recipe makes a small lake of sauce so make sure you have some fresh bread handy to sop it all up. 🙂
How do you spend your dinnertime?
Adapted from: America’s Test Kitchen: The Best Simple Recipes
Here are some other great recipe from America’s Test Kitchen.