A couple of weeks ago, I had planned to cook dinner for my parents and boyfriend, and wanted to cook something delicious that I had never tried before. So the search began. Up came Google on my phone and I started trying to find a suitable dish to try anew. I generally love Italian food (namely pasta), so the search began there. I am also vegetarian, so that significantly narrowed the search. And then finally, I came across a recipe for a Gnocchi and tomato bake. I felt I had found my dish.
For those of you who have never tried it, gnocchi are Italian dumplings made from potatoes, semolina, flour, or a combination of all three, used to garnish soup or, served alone with sauce. The word gnocchi may derive from the Italian word nocchio, meaning a knot in wood, or from nocca, meaning knuckle. It’s been a traditional Italian pasta type since Roman times, and over the past 2,000 years, each country developed its own variation of small dumpling, with the ancient gnocchi as their common ancestor. The use of potato is a relatively recent innovation, occurring after the introduction of the potato to Europe in the 16th century.
So, long story short, I made the dish and it turned out splendidly, and was thoroughly enjoyed by us all. As a result, I thought I would share the recipe, which I initially found on the BBC Good Food website. So here it is!
Gnocchi & Tomato Bake
Ingredients (comfortably served 4):
– 1 tbsp olive oil
– 1 (cosy) onion, chopped
– 1 red bell pepper, diced
– 1 garlic clove, crushed
– 400g can chopped tomatoes
– 500g pack gnocchi
– handful basil leaves, torn
– 125g ball mozzarella, torn into chunks
1. Heat grill to high. Then heat the oil in a large frying pan and soften the onion and the pepper for 5 minutes.
2. Stir in the garlic, fry for 1 minute.
3. Tip in the tomatoes and gnocchi, then bring to a simmer. Bubble for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the gnocchi is soft and the sauce has thickened.
4. Season with salt and pepper, stir through the basil, then transfer to an ovenproof dish.
5. Scatter with the mozzarella, then grill for 5-6 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and golden.
6. Take the dish out to the table of hungry mouths and serve everyone a generous portion!
I also took the liberty of English-ing my meal up with the addition of peas on the side!
Glorious gnocchi and tomato bake, a vegetarian Italian dish that even meat eaters can enjoy!
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