I've had a longstanding relationship with just about every kind of cheese. And by relationship, I really mean obsession. Whether it's this Cheesy Baked Gnocchi or a decadent cheese plate, there's no way I can turn down anything with cheese!
Now when that cheese happens to be fresh mozzarella that's melted and slathered all over some perfect cooked gnocchi... ALL BETS ARE OFF. No one should be held accountable for their actions when a bowl of this is involved. The little pillows of gnocchi are doused in the worlds best sauce made of crispy pancetta, tomatoes, shallots, garlic and a hint of smoked paprika to give it some depth. And then baked long enough just to melt that mozzarella and make it perfectly gooey. Ugh - I can't even handle it!!!!
Give me a vat of this Cheesy Baked Gnocchi, a big cuddly blanket, and a chilly day and it's pretty much a recipe for perfection!
And heads up - the pancetta in this recipe can easily be substituted with chopped bacon if that's more your jam. Or you can leave it out if you want a vegetarian version of the Cheesy Baked Gnocchi. And if you're just feeling the gnocchi vibe, this Chicken Parmesan Gnocchi is also a winner!
Cheesy Baked Gnocchi
- 1 lb package store-bought gnocchi
- 4 ounces pancetta chopped
- 1 shallot finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves chopped
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 15- ounce can chopped tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- handful cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- fresh basil torn
- kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- 10 ounces fresh mozzarella torn into pieces
- Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Once boiling, cook the gnocchi until they just start to float. Remove them from the water once they float and immediately submerge them in an ice bath. Once cold, remove from the ice bath and set aside.
- Meanwhile, add the cubed pancetta to a medium skillet over medium high heat and cook until most of the fat has rendered and the pancetta has browned. Pour off most of the fat, reduce heat to medium, and then add the shallots, garlic and smoked paprika. Cook for 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, cherry tomatoes and sugar and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the cream. Add the gnocchi to the sauce and season with salt and pepper and torn basil.
- Transfer the gnocchi and sauce to an oven-proof dish and top with the torn mozzarella.
- Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes until the mozzarella is melted and golden.
- Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.