by Christina Dennis
Life is crazy, busy and more crazy with toddlers and babies in the house. While I love experimenting every so often with more complicated & exotic dinner recipes, I have a few that aren’t so exotic or complicated that I love to make for my family. This Homemade Gnocchi Bake that I’ve concocted is the ultimate comfort food! While it’s made from “scratch”, I find it pretty quick to put together and it’s something that both my husband – and even my toddler! – loves. Gnocchi is a type of pasta that is really easily and inexpensively made by hand; you don’t need a pasta machine to make it because it’s rolled and cut into pieces. Chopped chicken is optional in this meal, and the addition of tomatoes and spinach add some tasty veggie goodness!
- 2 cups ricotta cheese (I use the “light”) version
- 1 medium egg
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- pinch of salt
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
- 1 cup pasta sauce
- 1/2 cup fresh tomatoes, chopped OR 1/2 cup canned halved tomatoes
- 2 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed (optional)
- 1 cup mozarella cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
To make the gnocchi pasta, whisk the ricotta cheese, egg, olive oil and salt together in a medium bowl. Mix in 2 1/2 cups of flour into the ricotta cheese mixture gradually, using your hands when it gets thick. Knead the dough for a couple of minutes and then cut it into 6 pieces. Roll each piece into a cylinder about 1″ in diameter, and then chop each piece into approximately 1″ long pieces.
Bring a large, salted pot of water to boil. Add the gnocchi and boil for 5 minutes. Drain and let cool.
Once the gnocchi has cooled a little, mix it in a large bowl with the chopped spinach, pasta sauce and tomatoes (and cubed chicken breast, optional). Put half of this mixture in the bottom of a medium-sized casserole dish. Sprinkle half of the grated mozarella cheese on top. Layer the rest of the gnocchi mixture on top of that and sprinkle with the remaining mozarella cheese and parmesan.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes and enjoy!
Christina Dennis is the creator and designer behind Golly Gee Baby, a collection of unique and colourful baby clothing and accessories that are ethically manufactured.