There are five things you need to know about this meal.
- It consists of only FOUR ingredients!
- It takes only 20 MINUTES!
- It’s CHEAP.
- A three-year old could make it, it’s so easy. I’m not kidding. Get your kids in the kitchen and have them help make this one.
- It makes you feel like you are out for a fancy Italian meal with all the comfort food requirements of cheesy, tomato saucy goodness.
All you need to make this are pre-made gnocchi, marinara sauce, shredded mozzarella, and some fresh basil. THAT’S IT. I’ve used homemade whole wheat ricotta gnocchi and marinara sauce to make this, but more often than not I use store-bought potato gnocchi and a jar of Rao’s marinara sauce (the BEST) to make it extra easy. I almost always have the ingredients to make this on hand at any given time- since everything but the basil are pantry ingredients, it’s a great thing to keep as a backup meal for when you don’t have time to go to the store.
First, cook the gnocchi by placing carefully into salted boiling water. Remove with a slotted spoon when they float to the top. It only takes about 3 minutes for this to happen. Hooray!
Now… I made this dish extra adorable by cooking individual portions in 5-inch mini cast-iron skillets. You can certainly use a larger skillet, ceramic or other individual baking vessels, or a regular baking dish to make this. The adorableness, while adorable, does not contribute to the taste whatsoever (although, I will say: eating directly out of the hot skillets enables the dish to stay really warm while you are eating it, which is super cozy for cold weather, albeit somewhat hazardous).
Sprinkle some chopped fresh basil on top of the gnocchi. Spoon on some marinara sauce. Add the mozzarella. See? So easy, a three-year-old can do it.
Now, think for a minute about whether you like your cheese to be ooey and gooey and melty, or crispy and browned. If you like it ooey and gooey (technical culinary terms, of course), cover the gnocchi with aluminum foil so the cheese doesn’t get too crisp, and bake in a 425 degree oven for about 10 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for 5 more minutes. If you like it crispy and browned, don’t use foil and bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes (and run the broiler for the last few minutes if it’s not browned to your satisfaction- that’s what I did and it came out like the picture below).
As hard as it is, allow to cool for a few minutes before digging in if you don’t want to burn the roof of your mouth. Then, top with a little more fresh basil. Then… NOM.
My recommendation: make sure you eat this with some good bread with which to sop up the sauce. You won’t regret it.
Recipe below! Not that you need it for this ridiculously easy meal :-)
|Baked Gnocchi with Marinara, Mozzarella, and Fresh Basil|| |
- Cook gnocchi by placing carefully into boiling salted water. Remove with a slotted spoon when they float to the top and place into four individual-sized mini cast-iron skillets or casserole dishes, or one baking dish.
- Sprinkle basil on top of the gnocchi.
- Spoon marinara sauce evenly on top of the basil.
- Sprinkle cheese evenly on top of the sauce.
- Cover with foil; bake at 425 for 10 minutes.*
- Remove foil; bake for another 5 minutes.
- Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with extra basil.