Here in New England, we are now deep into the throws of winter. Jack Frost has his icy fingers wrapped tightly around me, and some mornings, it feels like a major struggle just to peel off the warm comforter and crawl out of bed.
All this cold weather has got me craving comfort foods on the regular. Hearty soups, steaming mugs of hot chocolate and big bowls of baked gnocchi have become a necessary part of my routine. Smoothies and cold salads just aren’t cutting it anymore.
There is one dish in particular that’s been on repeat for the past six weeks, and it’s this baked gnocchi with tomatoes, mushrooms and kale. With just the right amount of mozzarella cheese to make it feel luxurious, and a good dose of vegetables for added nutrients, this recipe will certainly become a regular part of your dinner routine, too!
Until this past year, gnocchi was a dish that I only enjoyed on rare occasions. I loved ordering it when dining out at restaurants, but I never seemed to remember to make it at home. I think I was intimidated by the idea of making gnocchi from scratch, so that stopped me from attempting to create any recipes in my own kitchen. But these days, store-bought gnocchi is actually really good (look for it in the pasta aisle at the grocery store), so it’s a shortcut that I’m happy to take advantage of. Especially because it helps me get a delicious dinner on the table quickly and easily, and that is something I can always appreciate!
Baked gnocchi is amenable to all kinds of customizations. Some days I like to let it swim in a luscious cream-based sauce, while other days, I stick to a more traditional tomato-based sauce. I also love to add-in additional herbs and vegetables to make it extra hearty and nutritious. Today’s version has fresh cherry tomatoes, shallots, mushrooms and kale, all wrapped up in an easy homemade tomato sauce. About half of the cooking is done on the stove-top. Then the dish is finished off in the oven, which allows for just enough time to toss together a small salad to serve on the side. It’s a dish that you can have on the table in about 40 minutes, and it’s a recipe that the whole family will love!
I used a small amount of red wine in the sauce, which I think really deepens the flavors, but feel free to leave it out, if you prefer.
- 1 pound (1 package) store-bought gnocchi
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 ounces button mushrooms trimmed and quartered
- ½ cup peeled and sliced shallots
- 4 garlic cloves peeled and minced
- ¼ cup red wine
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes
- 15 ounce (1 can) tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup packed kale leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese torn into bite-sized pieces
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil roughly chopped
- Preheat your oven to 400°F. Spray an oven-safe dish with non-stick cooking spray and set it aside.
- Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the gnocchi and cook it according to the package instructions, about 3-4 minutes. Drain into a colander and set aside.
- Return the pot to the stove and heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the mushrooms and sliced shallots, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and slightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the red wine, tomato paste, salt, black pepper and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until the wine is almost completely evaporated, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in the cherry tomatoes, tomato sauce and balsamic vinegar. Cook until the sauce is bubbling and some of the tomatoes are starting to burst, about 5-6 minutes more.
- Remove the pot from the heat. Add the kale, heavy cream, and the cooked gnocchi, stirring to coat everything in the sauce. Transfer about half of the gnocchi/vegetable mixture to your prepared baking dish. Top with about half of the torn mozzarella cheese. Then add the remaining gnocchi/vegetable mixture, and top with the remaining mozzarella cheese.
- Transfer the baking dish to your preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes. The cheese should be melted and the sauce should be slightly bubbly. If you want to brown the cheese, you can place the baking dish under your broiler for 1-2 minutes.
- Remove the baking dish from your oven and allow the baked gnocchi to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh basil.
- Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator for 2-3 days.