Cheesy Gnocchi in a Simple Herb Tomato Sauce is a simple warming dish full of comfort foods. Perfect for a warming simple dinner to help beat back the Autumnal chill. Packed full of all the things we love, carby pasta and heavenly melty cheese 😀
Being vegetarian and being one for so long you quickly learn that if you don’t season your food with herbs and spices a lot of your food can be very bland. I can only imagine how bland this cheesy gnocchi in a simple herb tomato sauce would be without the herbs. Salt and pepper can only do so much and to be honest I rarely add salt to my food because its already been added 99% of the time during the cooking process. So we try and pack in whatever complementary flavours we can. This dish is bursting with fresh herbs and I highly recommend using them if you can. But if you can’t then you can use dried herbs but the flavour will not be as fresh or strong but still lovely all the same.
To get the most out of their flavour we are going to infuse them in the oil we use in this recipe. Its a plain flavourless vegetable oil we use so it can take all the herby goodness into it.
We just gently fry them in the oil for 5 minutes until they are nice and crispy and this imparts a serious herby flavour to the base of this dish.
Everything else in this cheesy gnocchi in a simple herb tomato sauce dish is warming and comforting to help you beat off the Autumn chill that is starting to creep in all over the place. The sun may be shining but that wind has a serious nip to it. At least in Scotland it does!
So to start with we have red onions and garlic gently sautéed in the herby oil. Then tinned chopped tomatoes are added in, as well as a touch of water and some seasoning to taste. That is all left to simmer and reduce down a bit so the flavours intensify even more. This is a great time to go and get yourself that glass of red wine you have been thinking about all day 😉
Bringing It All Together
Then we throw in some gnocchi to our tomato base, place it in a skillet or other suitable dish to be placed under a hot grill or if you prefer under a hot broiler throw in some cheese and a touch of olive oil and grill / broil until that cheese is all melty and starting to brown. Hey presto you have your very own dish of cheesy gnocchi in a simple herb tomato sauce. Then all you have to do is growl at all others near you so they wont take any of this dish away from you 😉 or you can be nice and share. The choice is totally yours and yours alone.
- 60 millilitres vegetable oil (1/4 cup)
- 2 stems fresh rosemary
- 2 stems fresh basil
- 2 stems fresh flat leaf parsley
- 1 medium red onion - finely chopped & diced
- 2 cloves garlic - minced
- 390 grams tinned chopped tomatoes - 1 regular tin (13.5 ounces)
- 60 millilitres water (1/4 cup)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Pinch dried chilli flakes to taste - optional
- 500 grams potato gnocchi (3 cups)
- 125 grams fresh mozzarella - chopped up into small chunks (4.5 ounce)
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- In a medium sized saucepan gently heat the oil, as it starts to warm add in the herbs and cook for 5 minutes until all the herbs are nice and crispy.
- Then very carefully pick out the herbs and turn the heat down to low and sauté the onions in the herby oil until they are transparent. About 5-7 minutes.
- Add in the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.
- Then add in the tinned tomatoes, water, salt and pepper and chilli flakes if using. And stir till everything is well mixed together and the sauce is very gently bubbling. Then turn it down to the lowest heat you can and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the sauce has thickened and reduced down about a third. Stirring only occasionally.
- Once the sauce is ready bring a large pan of water to the boil and add in a pinch of salt and boil the gnocchi for a few minutes until it has all floated to the top.
- Preheat your grill (broiler) on high
- Drain the gnocchi and then place it back into its pan and pour over the herby tomato sauce and mix it all together.
- Transfer the mixture to a grill safe dish, I used a 10 inch cast iron skillet and scatter the cheese on top and drizzle the 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the top and place under your hot grill for 5-8 minutes until the cheese has melted and started to bubble and turn brown.
- For best results serve immediately, but leftovers will keep in the fridge for 2 days. Make sure the food is piping hot if you are reheating it before consuming it.
2. Most of the time in this recipe is inactive time.