I usually leave a day or so in between trying out a recipe and blogging about it, but the really good ones get blogged earlier than that because, basically, I can't wait to tell everyone about them!
Such is the situation with this Baked gnocchi dish from Jo Romero's Comfort Bites blog.
You know how some recipes strike you instantly as being so "do-able"? You can see immediately that everyone who will be eating would enjoy the ingredients and the way they have been prepared. The first time I read through the recipe on Jo's blog, I knew straight away that we'd really enjoy eating this dish.
I felt as though I was cheating a bit, buying a jar of pasta sauce. However, I'm glad I did as the jar - a sundried tomato sauce from Dress Italian - was very nice with a depth of flavour that I'd have been hard put to have achieved in a home-made sauce (for the same money - just a pound - that is!).
I also added a ball of mozzarella, diced, to the recipe as I know how much Son & heir enjoys the stringiness of cooked mozzarella and anything that helps him over the fact that there's also spinach in the dish, can't be anything but good.
I have given the recipe below, but please note that I'm very definitely not claiming it as mine - it's simply because I've added the mozzarella, which is where my recipe differs from Jo's.
Even if you've never cooked Gnocchi before, this is a perfect introduction to the little darlings. Flavoursome and rich with the mascarpone balancing the tomato and with the spinach for added texture and flavour, it is truly a lovely thing. The sheer fact that neither hubby nor Son & heir missed their meat (in case you haven't noticed, it doesn't contain any!) is testament to the satisfaction it delivers.
BAKED GNOCCHI WITH TOMATO, SPINACH & MASCARPONE (feeds 4)
500g pack of potato gnocchi
500g jar of your favourite tomato based pasta sauce
2 handfuls fresh spinach leaves, washed
About 6 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
A mozzarella ball, diced
Handful of Parmesan.
1. Preheat oven to 180C. Heat a large saucepan of slightly salted water until it boils. 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.
2. Meanwhile, scatter the washed spinach leaves in the base of a fairly large roasting dish.
3. 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 on 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. Sprinkle over the cubed mozzarella and cover with a handful of freshly grated Parmesan and bake for around 30 minutes, until the gnocchi is bubbling and the cheese has melted.
Allow to cool slightly before serving - with a side salad.