I know. It’s August. August is hot. August is the time for making light salads and not turning on the oven (or even the stove, if you’re really doing things right). But I don’t care. I found this recipe for baked gnocchi with bacon, tomato, and mozzarella, and I wanted to make it. So I did! I’m very (very) fortunate to have powerful A/C in DC, so turning on the oven doesn’t really get to me. That said, I definitely didn’t have A/C growing up (my house was about 150 years too old for that!), so I get it if you think this is nuts. But if you decide not to make this now, be sure to save it for the winter months. It’s warm and delicious and definitely qualifies as comfort food, but puts a bit of a twist on the caprese flavors you see all the time (not that there’s ANYthing wrong with that either)!
You can find the original recipe here, but I’ve posted it below with minor adjustments and converted into US units.
Baked Gnocchi with Bacon, Tomato, and Mozzarella
*You could also make this dish vegetarian really easily by removing the bacon and instead just sautéing the garlic and paprika in a T. of olive oil for about a minute before adding the tomatoes and sugar*
1 lb. Gnocchi
6-8 slices Bacon, chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, chopped
1 tsp. Paprika
1 can (14.11 oz) Chopped Tomatoes
1 T. Tomato Paste
Handful (I used a biiiig handful) Cherry Tomatoes, halved
1 tsp. Sugar
2-3 T. Cream/Plain Yogurt
Large handful fresh Parsley, chopped (or a few T. dried parsley, which is what I did)
Salt & Pepper to taste (but let’s be real– there’s bacon in there, you definitely won’t need to add any salt!)
Mozzarella, sliced thin (enough to cover the top of the baking dish)
Preheat the oven to 400. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. In the meantime, fry the bacon until it starts to crisp and most of the fat is rendered.
Pour off most of the fat and then add the garlic and paprika, frying for about 30 seconds. Add all tomatoes and the sugar and simmer for about 5 minutes. Be sure to scrape up any bacon-y bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan!
Remove the pan from the heat and add the cream (or yogurt), parsley, and seasoning. Cook the gnocchi in the salted water until it floats to the top. Remove with a slotted spoon and add to the sauce (if your gnocchi is ready before the sauce is– like mine was– just keep it in the baking dish you’re about to use until the sauce is ready). Transfer to a baking-safe dish and top with mozzarella. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden. Remove and allow to set for 5 minutes before serving.
This had bacon and cheese in it, so it was always going to go over well with BF. But I liked it too! It finally gave me an excuse to use the gnocchi I’ve had sitting around my pantry for a looong time, and using bacon and parsley instead of basil made the dish feel fresh. I was visiting home this weekend and didn’t do any cooking (and missed it!), so it was nice to get back into cooking with a comfort food-y dish like this. Plus, it’s a decidedly gloomy day as I write this, so it feels appropriate to do a post on comfort food. I feel a strong urge to go make some tea and read a gothic novel after this– if only I had a wood-paneled library with a fireplace and a wing-back chair to really complete the picture! ALSO, I came back to DC armed with a few fresh ears of local corn and some basil from our garden, so I’m pretty excited to put those to use later this week. More summer veggie-heavy posts coming soon!