We're in the middle of one heck of a heat wave. 38-40˚C (that's 100.4-104˚F for my American readers) everyday now for a week. The humidity is wilting, the heat, oppressive. Thankfully my darling husband, foreseeing me being super uncomfortable this summer should the temperature skyrocket (I'm in my 3rd trimester now), bought me central air 3 weeks ago. He really does love me. So I've been coping with the heat fairly well. But the temperature certainly changes how we eat. As it gets hotter you tend to want to eat lighter. Simple salads and cold dishes tend to be what we all crave when the mercury rises... unless you're a pregnant gal and you have A/C. Then you want crazy things like baked pastas.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I've been trying to cook better for my hubby, really watching every single ingredient I cook with for cholesterol, sodium and fat. I love Gnocchi, as does he, so when I found myself craving pasta this week I headed to the refrigerated section of the grocery store (it's too hot to make gnocchi from scratch!) and picked up a package of gnocchi to read the label. 0 mg cholesterol, low in sodium, low in fat, low in calories... I was thrilled!
In 40˚ weather I made my Baked Gnocchi. I'm crazy, I know. But really it's quite a light dish (as gnocchi goes) and served with a generous side salad we felt satisfied and not like we had eaten a big heavy meal. You could certainly just make this stove top and not turn on your oven, or "bake" it on your BBQ, any way you choose to make it I hope you give it a try cause it's incredibly tasty!
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2 pkgs of premade Gnocchi (I use Maestro but any will do)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 14oz can of diced tomatoes
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
5 fresh basil leaves, jullienned
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
1 500ml container Bocconcini Pearls*
2 c baby spinach
1/4 c shaved parmesan cheese
1. In a sauté pan, heat the olive oil and add the onions and garlic and cook over medium heat until the onions are translucent.
2. Add the tomatoes, Italian seasoning and salt & pepper. Continue to simmer over med-low heat while you cook the gnocchi.
3. Bring a pot of salted water to boil and add the gnocchi. Cook just until the gnocchi rise to the surface of the water and drain immediately.
4. Add the gnocchi, bocconcini and spinach to the tomato sauce and stir to incorporate. (you can continue on the stove top here if you wish heating over low until the bocconcini pearls melt.)
5. Pour pasta into a greased (Pam) casserole dish and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.
6. Bake at 350˚F for 20 minutes or until the bocconcini melts.
7. Serve alongside a salad for a light and healthy meal!
* If you're unfamiliar with Bocconcini it's just small balls of fresh mozzarella. I've tried using shredded mozzarella and the larger Baby Bocconcini but I find the pearls to be best because they don't overpower the gnocchi or make it too chewy. Bocconcini Pearls can be found in the deli section with the other specialty cheeses.
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