Thursday, 23 June 2011

Baked Gnocchi with Tomato and Mascarpone

When I need cheering up, or if I want to cook something really filling and homely, I make this. Gnocchi, baked with tomato sauce, spinach and mascarpone cheese. I've seen variations of this recipe everywhere, but this is how I make it. 

And if you've never tried gnocchi, and you like pasta - do give it a go. It gives you that same comforting soft texture with every spoonful. You'll notice that some of the ingredients are listed below in 'handfuls' rather than any precise measurements - this is because I make it like this: this kind of dish works best when it's thrown together and not measured with the painstaking accuracy of a set of scales.

Baked Gnocchi with Spinach, Tomato and Mascarpone
Feeds 4 hungry adults

  • 2 x 250g packs of potato gnocchi
  • 500g jar of your favourite tomato based pasta sauce (I use a 'garlic and onion' sauce)
  • 2 handfuls fresh spinach leaves, washed
  • About 6 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
  • Small handful of Parmesan, plus extra for serving

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Heat a large saucepan of slightly salted water until it boils.
  2. When the water is boiling, drop in the gnocchi and cook for around 2 minutes, until they puff up slightly and float to the top.
  3. Meanwhile, scatter the washed spinach leaves in the base of a fairly large roasting dish. When the gnocchi are cooked, drain and tip directly onto the spinach in the dish. Mix slightly, so that the spinach begins to wilt in the steam of the cooked gnocchi. But go careful - you don't want to break them up.
  4. Tip over the tomato sauce and mix again.
  5. With a tablespoon, scoop out dollops of mascarpone and arrange them over the top of the tomato-gnocchi mixture. Cover with a handful of freshly grated Parmesan and bake for around 30 minutes, until the gnocchi is bubbling, the sauce has thickened and the cheese has melted.
  6. Allow to cool slightly before serving - with more Parmesan if you wish.
You might also like my post about Fried Gnocchi - one of my guilty pleasures!