Baked Gnocchi with Cherry Tomatoes

In our house, we try to cook vegetarian at least twice a week. I picked up this habit when my husband (then boyfriend) and I first moved in to our own place. It is so much cheaper to eat vegetarian, which is awesome when you’re a broke twenty-something just out of college. Now, just because we’re cooking vegetarian here doesn’t mean we don’t love cheese. I LOVE cheese. Ooey Gooey fresh mozzarella in this recipe, to be exact.

This Baked Gnocchi is such an easy weeknight recipe too! If you are good at multi-tasking you can get this on the table in 30 minutes. We start by making a simple sauce with shallots, garlic, fresh basil, and cherry tomatoes. I usually leave the tomatoes whole because it looks so nice and it keeps the tomatoes juicy while they bake.

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Topping it off with the fresh mozzarella really makes this dish! Right at the end during the last 2 minutes of baking, I turn on the broiler so the cheese gets a little more toasty on the top. I hope you enjoy this cheesy recipe as much as I did!

Ingredients:

  • 1lb package of gnocchi
  • 2 tbs EVOO
  • 1/2 cup thin sliced shallots
  • 4 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 150z no-salt added tomato sauce
  • 2 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 fresh basil chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
  • 1tbs heavy cream (or half &half  for a lighter version)
  • 8oz fresh mozzarella cheese ripped into chunks

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking pan (i used a loaf pan) with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add Gnocchi and cook to package directions.
  3. While you’re waiting for water  to boil, start the sauce. Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat, then add shallots and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add in tomato paste, pepper, salt, and nutmeg, cherry tomatoes, tomato sauce, and balsamic vinegar. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook for about 7 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove sauce from heat and stir in the basil, parsley, heavy cream, and cooked gnocchi.
  5. Transfer about half the gnocchi/sauce mixture to the baking pan. Then add half the mozzarella on top. Then add the other half of the Gnocchi/sauce mixture on top of that. Than top with the rest of the mozzarella chunks. Put pan into pre-heated oven and bake for 10 minutes. If you want to brown the cheese, you can turn on your broiler for 1-2 minutes at the end of baking.
  6. Remove the baked gnocchi and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
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