Baked gnocchi

I saw a recipe for gnocchi alla sorrentina on one of my very favourite food blogs, Manu’s Menu, the other day and knew straight away that I had to try it. In the end, I adapted it quite a bit because I still haven’t mastered potato gnocchi, I had a few peppers in the fridge that desperately needed using and I had to pre-make everything due to my cruddy work schedule and thought baking instead of broiling could double as reheating. While I hang my head in shame as I admit that I messed with tradition, it did taste great! I’ve promised myself that I’ll make the authentic version another time – Manu’s recipe looks utterly delectable. Check it out!

So this isn’t gnocchi alla sorrentina, but is inspired by it.

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Serves 4

Ingredients

3 red peppers (capsicums)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups passata
1/2 cup roughly chopped basil
salt and pepper to taste
250g mozzarella, (divided – 150g finely diced, 100g thinly sliced)
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1 batch ricotta gnocchi

Directions

Trim, quarter and deseed the peppers then put them on a tray skin side up and put them under the grill (broiler) until the skins are charred, about 10 minutes. Remove to a bowl, cover tightly and let them sweat until cool enough to handle. Rub the skins off, roughly chop them and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes until fragrant but not browned.

Put the peppers and the onion and garlic (as well as any oil remaining in the saucepan) into a food processor or blender with enough of the passata for the machine to work and purée.

Put the pepper purée into the saucepan, add the remaining passata and simmer over a low heat until thickened, about 20 minutes. Add the diced mozzarella and stir until melted and smooth. Stir in the basil and set aside.

Prepare and cook the gnocchi. When it’s ready, add it to the saucepan with the sauce and mix to combine. Add 2 tbsp of the Parmigiano Reggiano and mix well.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Lightly oil a large baking dish or 4 single-serve baking dishes.  Transfer the gnocchi to the dish(es) and top with the sliced mozzarella and the remaining Parmigiano Reggiano.

Bake for 20 minutes, turning on the grill (broiler) for the last 5 minutes to brown the top.

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