Gnocchi with Tomato Sauce - soft, pillowy gnocchi in a rich tomato sauce, topped with gooey mozzarella cheese. Kids love it!
Ever tried gnocchi? No? Know what they are? No? Well, give this recipe just one try and you'll always keep a package of gnocchi in your pantry for a very quick, very easy, and very satisfying dinner.
Actually gnocchi are little Italian potato dumplings. They're made with steamed potatoes, flour, and a little salt. That's all. And if you want to give making homemade gnocchi a try, go for it! Let me know how it turns out.
However, there are very good packaged fresh and frozen gnocchi available in your grocery store. I typically use the packaged ones that you find in the same area with the instant mashed potatoes and boxed rice dishes. So, go grab a box and make this memorable dinner!
How to Make Gnocchi with Tomato Sauce
Make the Tomato Sauce
This recipe doesn't require much prep work at all. You'll just need to chop the onion and mince the garlic to get started.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring frequently until the onion is well wilted and just beginning to brown.
Next add the tomatoes and all their juice.
You'll want to dice or break up the tomatoes to help them cook down more quickly. A wooden spoon work fine to mash them up a bit, or you could use a potato masher, or just get in there with your kitchen shears and give them a good chop.
Once the tomatoes are broken up or mashed down, add the basil, salt, and pepper.
Let the sauce cook, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes soften and really break down and the liquid is reduced by half or more. If the sauce starts to get too thick, add a little water to keep the desired consistency. Remember, you want the sauce to be thick and chunky, not too watery.
Cook the Gnocchi
While the sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Once the water is boiling, separate the gnocchi and drop them into the boiling water. Follow the package directions for cooking the gnocchi, but usually when they float to the top, they're done.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the gnocchi from the water and drop them right into the tomato sauce. Then mix gently to combine.
You could, of course, stop right here, spoon up the gnocchi onto a plate with a broiled chicken breast, some garlic bread, and a salad for a delicious dinner. However, we're going to take this recipe just a wee bit further.
Top with Cheese and Bake
Use the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to coat an ovenproof baking dish. Then spoon the gnocchi and tomato sauce mixture into the dish.
Top the mixture with thick slices of fresh mozzarella and sprinkle that with the Parmesan cheese. Put the dish under the broiler until the cheese is melted and bubbly. It should take about 5 to 10 minutes, but watch carefully so that it doesn't burn.
Questions and Answers!
Can I Make This for a Crowd?
Sure can. The recipe can be easily scaled up for a larger group. Simply double or triple the ingredients and use a larger baking dish.
Does it Make Good Leftovers?
It actually holds up pretty well for a day or two. Of course, leftover baked cheese usually has a less desirable texture, but I wouldn't toss it out because of that.
Any variations recommended?
The recipe, as written, is actually a great meatless main dish. However, you could always add some cooked Italian sausage or ground beef if you wanted to boost the protein. And you can make it as spicy as you'd like by adding dried red pepper flakes into the sauce.
What Goes With This?
I almost always serve this recipe with a tossed green salad and garlic bread on the side. If you want more veggies, green beans or peas are always a great option.
More Easy Italian Recipes on Never Enough Thyme:
Gnocchi Recipes from Other Bloggers:
- Gnocchi with Pomodoro Sauce from Foodie Crush
- Cheesy Gnocchi Florentine from Iowa Girl Eats
- Sweet Corn Gnocchi Skillet from Simply Recipes
- Sausage and Kale Baked Gnocchi from Spoon Fork Bacon
- Semolina Gnocchi from Leite's Culinaria
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Gnocchi with Tomato Sauce
- 2 tblsp. olive oil divided
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 14.5 oz. can whole plum tomatoes in juice
- 3 tblsp chopped fresh basil
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 pound gnocchi
- 8 oz. mozzarella cheese
- 2 oz. Parmesan cheese
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally until onion is well wilted and starting to brown.
- Add tomatoes and basil, along with salt and pepper to taste.
- Cook, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes break down and the liquid is reduced by half or more. If the sauce begins to get too thick, add a little water to keep the desired consistency. You want the sauce to be thick and chunky, not too watery.
- While the sauce cooks, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Separate the gnocchi and drop them into the boiling water. Cook according to the package directions.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the gnocchi from the water and gently stir them into the tomato sauce.
- Oil an ovenproof baking dish with the remaining olive oil.
- Transfer the gnocchi and tomato sauce to the baking dish and top with sliced mozzarella. Sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese and place under heated broiler until cheese is hot and bubbly.
Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.
Lana Stuart is the cook and occasional traveler here at Never Enough Thyme. Lana has been cooking since she was tall enough to reach the stove and started this blog in 2009 to share her delicious home cooking recipes. You'll find about 700 recipes here so there's sure to be something your family will like!
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