But I implore you to look beyond the pasta in your store cupboard to the humble Gnocchi. Don't be fooled by the exotic Italian name or the many recipes on the internet dedicated to making it from scratch (it is actually fairly easy but too time consuming for a Tuesday night), this is as simple, if not more so than pasta. And you can get ready made Gnocchi next to the fresh pasta in the super market, some places do vacuum packed ones in the store cupboard section too so you can have it on hand.
This Gnocchi bake recipe has its origins in Gnocchi alla Sorrentina but the original sticks to a simple tomato sauce without extra veggies. If you wanted to leave out a step from below, you could do the same and serve alongside some salad leaves instead for one of your five a day.
The key to this bake being super delicious is in the sauce. A good tomato sauce is a kitchen essential, I tend to make my own in a large batch and then fill sterilised jars when it is still hot. They seem to keep for ages in the cupboard; the cooling down of the sauce essentially recreates the vacuum seal in the jar. If you don't have your own sauce squirrelled away somewhere, then a good quality shop bought one is second best option.
Gnocchi Bake or Gnocchi Alla Sorrentina
1. In an oven dish, mix up the following ingredients before putting into roast at 180 deg C for 15-20 minutes. Until the vegetables have cooked and the edges are getting a little charred character.
A large pepper (I like green for this recipe but go with your favourite) - cut into large-ish chunks
125g mushrooms - quartered
A red onion - segmented
A courgette - large diced
1 tbsp olive oil
A sprinkle of dried herbs, thyme and oregano work well but use what you have in
Salt and pepper
2. Get the vegetable laden oven dish ready next to the stove. Place a pan of salty water on to boil and tip in a packet of ready made Gnocchi (they tend to be about 500g a packet). Simmer for 1-3 minutes depending on pack instructions.
3. Lift the Gnocchi from the pan with a slatted spoon as they rise to the surface (careful not to over cook) and mix with the vegetables and a jar of your favourite tomato pasta sauce (my recipe can be found here). Go in with a splash of the cooking water too, about 2-3 tbsp depending on the sauce consistency.
4. Top with ripped chunks of mozzarella (get the whole ball on there) and a sprinkling of Italian Hard Cheese / Parmesan (the former is generally vegetarian).
5. The oven dish goes back into the still hot oven for 15-20 minutes until it is bubbling and and browned on top.
If you are feeling a bit braver or quite frankly more motivated that I did tonight, then check out The Bunny Kitchens' version of Gnocchi with a Tomato and Pepper Sauce with the gnocchi from scratch instructions.
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