Can we take a moment for gnocchi? It’s pillowy soft, it combines our two favorite food groups (pasta and potatoes) and, if you use the store-bought kind, it makes an easy weeknight meal. Here, How Sweet Eats author Jessica Merchant takes the staple to new heights with sheet pan tomato basil gnocchi, from her new cookbook, Everyday Dinners.
“This classic flavor combo brings a comforting yet fresh taste to this summer dish,” she writes. “The tomatoes burst and sort of make their own sauce. Heck, you can make it any time of year.”
To make the meal ahead, prepare the pesto and grate the cheese in advance (and store everything in the fridge until dinnertime).
Recipe from Everyday Dinners. Copyright © 2021 by Jessica Merchant. Photography copyright © 2021 by Jessica Merchant. Published by Rodale Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
Skillet Gnocchi with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe
¼ cup pine nuts
4 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
3 garlic cloves
½ to ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Nonstick cooking spray
One 16-ounce package uncooked potato gnocchi
1½ cups grape tomatoes, some cut in half
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup Classic Pesto
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried basil
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, plus extra for serving
¼ cup freshly shaved Parmesan cheese, for serving
Sprinkle of chopped fresh basil, for serving
1. Make the Pesto: In a small dry skillet over low heat, toast the pine nuts. Shake and stir until the nuts are golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the basil, Parmesan, pine nuts and garlic. Pulse until finely chopped, then, with the processor running, stream in the olive oil, starting with ½ cup and adding the extra as needed to reach the desired consistency. Add the salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes, and blend again. Taste and season if needed. The pesto will keep in the fridge for a week or the freezer for 3 months.
3. Make the Gnocchi: Preheat the oven to 425°F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.
4. Spread the gnocchi and tomatoes out on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss. Spoon on the pesto and toss until everything is coated. Sprinkle with the garlic powder, salt, pepper, oregano, dried basil and red pepper flakes and toss well to combine.
5. Roast, tossing once during cook time, until the tomatoes begin to burst and the gnocchi are slightly golden, 20 to 25 minutes.
6. Sprinkle with the Parmesan, additional red pepper flakes, and fresh basil before serving.
Note: For a variation on the pesto, swap the basil out for baby arugula or spinach.