Gnocchi is all the rage these days, but there are so many recipes out there for home chefs that in my experience, fall short of hitting the mark. “Just boil water, add salt and boil till the gnocchi floats to the top,” is what you’ll read in most home recipes I’ve come across. Ummm, bullshit. Store bought gnocchi in my experience gets undercooked, becomes chewy, and is nothing in comparison to the dish when made from scratch even if it’s frozen for a week. If anyone has figured out how to cook well with pre-packaged store bought then hats off to you. What am I not getting!?
I’ve tried cooking it longer than the instructions say to, I’ve served it tossed with whatever sauce immediately after pulling it out of the water, and time and time again I’m chewing a starchy mess halfway through the meal. So if you are cooking a dish where gnocchi is the center piece and have the time, honestly, just make your own. It’s a little effort up front to use a gentle touch down, but once the technique of rolling the dough out properly, you’ll be able to make light, fluffy, delicious potato pastries the rest of your life. But hey, we’re all pretty busy right? Have a craving but not the time? Well, one way I’ve found to make the store bought stuff sing is to put it in a casserole dish. Hearty, rich, and perfect with a good Cesare salad this dish is a crowd pleaser and pretty easy to put together.
1 package of store bought gnocchi
1 lb of sausage – go with the chorizo, you’ll love the kick
1 jar of tomato sauce (premade stuff will do just fine – I prefer one with basil)
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese – maybe a knob for the top layer as well
a little red wine vinegar if you are so inclined
Cooked Listening to: David Bowie – Ziggy Stardust
Set your oven to 350 degrees. Get a large pot of water boiling and salted well.
Throw the gnocchi into the water once boiling and let it rise the to top. Add a few more minutes till they’re looking like they are about to jump out of the pot.
While the gnocchi is cooking, slice open your sausages and crumble the meat as best you can into a good sized skillet on medium heat. Brown the meat evenly and then add your tomato sauce. I like to add a splash of red wine vinegar for a twang.
Drain your gnocchi and or scoop it out of the water, carefully adding it to the tomato/sausage pan. Add about half of your mozzarella cheese as well, giving it a few stirs to mix it up.
Transfer the mix to a casserole dish and sprinkle the remaining mozzarella on top. If you got a fresh knob as well, rip off small chunks and add it to the top layer
Bake for about 15-20 minutes in the upper middle of the oven until you can see the cheese is nicely melted with a little browning on top and the sauce is bubbly.
A little salad on the side and a decent bottle of red and that store bought gnocchi you bought just became a rockstar.