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Spinach and ricotta gnocchi baked with cherry tomatoes

Most of us cook from a rotating menu of a dozen or so meals. Dish magazine’s food editor and easy everyday meal expert Claire Aldous offers some fresh inspiration. Add flowers and a glass of wine to transform the everyday into something extraordinary.

Food Claire Aldous and Susan Wood. Photography Laura Forest. Styling Rebekah White.

Instead of the usual boiling method, these light-as-air gnocchi are baked with cherry tomatoes and Parmesan.

Gnocchi
400g spinach or silverbeet, stems removed
400g firm ricotta
2 tbsp pine nuts, roasted and roughly chopped
1⁄2 cup grated Parmesan 
2 egg yolks
1⁄4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, crushed
1⁄2 cup fresh white breadcrumbs 
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 x 400g tin cherry tomatoes (we used Delmaine Cherry Tomatoes)
1⁄2 cup olives for dotting (we used Delmaine Kalamata Olives)
Parmesan for grating

Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Lightly grease a 4-5 cup capacity ovenproof baking dish.

Gnocchi: Cook the spinach or silverbeet in a saucepan of boiling salted water until tender. Drain and refresh in cold water, then drain again. Place in a clean tea towel, roll up and squeeze out all the excess water. It’s important the greens are dry or the gnocchi will fall apart. Chop greens finely and place in a large bowl. Add all the remaining gnocchi ingredients, season and combine well. Refrigerate until ready to assemble.

Sauce: Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and cook the garlic for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes. 

Place half the sauce in the baking dish.

To cook: Scoop golf ball-sized spoons of mixture into your hands and squeeze into an oval shape. You should get about 20 gnocchi. Place in the baking dish and spoon the remaining sauce around the gnocchi, then dot the olives around. Generously grate Parmesan over the top and bake for 15 minutes until golden. Serve with a green salad (we used The Fresh Grower Rocket and Baby Spinach). 

To roast nuts: Spread a single layer of nuts in a shallow baking pan and place in the oven at 180˚C. Shake the pan every few minutes until nuts are golden. Watch carefully – the nuts can burn very quickly. Remove and tip into another dish to cool. 

Serves 4

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