Baked Gnocchi with Bacon, Tomatoes and Mozzarella

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I’m a big fan of Pinterest, but I’m not overly zealous when it comes to pinning. I only pin things I truly have an interest in and would like to try and I’ve actually made quite a few of the dishes I’ve pinned.

I love gnocchi and I’m always looking for a new way to incorporate it in a dish. Potato gnocchi is a plump pillowy dumpling that marries well with a robust flavorful sauce. I’ve used it mainly in soups, so I was intrigued when I came across a baked gnocchi recipe. Paired with a spicy tomato sauce and baked with a top layer of mozzarella, this dish comes together quickly for a hearty week night meal. Add a salad and crusty warm bread and you’ve got an easy dinner for 4.

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My version is adapted from Alida Ryder’s recipe at Simply-Delicious.co.za

You will need:

1 pound potato gnocchi
1 teaspoon salt
6 ounces pancetta diced. You can use regular bacon, but the pancetta lends a rich flavor to the sauce.
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons canned chipotle chili sauce (you’ll find this next to the chipotles in adobo sauce at your grocery store)
1 14 1/2 ounce can diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons cream (you can use plain yogurt or half and half)
1/2 teaspoon Italian herb mixture
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 and 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella or Italian blend cheese.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Start a pot of water to prepare the gnocchi. When water comes to a boil, add a teaspoon of salt. Cook the gnocchi according to package directions. Drain.
Dice pancetta and add to a large heated skillet. Cook until fat has rendered and pancetta is crisp. Remove all but one teaspoon of fat.
Add garlic and continue to cook for about a minute, being careful not to let the garlic burn.
Add tomatoes and herbs to the pancetta and simmer on low heat for about 5 minutes. Add cream, remove from heat.
Add the cooked gnocchi to the sauce.
Pour the gnocchi and sauce into a oven proof baking dish and top with the grated cheese.
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly. Remove from oven and garnish with parsley.

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And there you have it. Oohey, gooey, cheesy. spicy and delish.

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