Gnocchi with Simple Marinara Sauce, Fresh Mozzarella and Basil

love it when it’s 5pm and I realize that I have to feed my beasts, then poke around in my refrigerator and discover that I have everything I need to whip up a dinner that they’ll be thrilled about with just about zero effort.

This sauce – which is thrown over fresh store-bought gnocchi and finished by a quick run through the broiler with some fresh mozzarella on top – is the Platonic ideal of marinara sauce, I swear: it’s light, but super flavorful, and 80% of the process of making it involves ignoring it.

(Did I mention my kids love it?)

(Did I mention that I also used fresh basil that I just plucked myself right out of my garden in it?) (I am aware I’ve been bragging about the fact that I have an herb garden for at least four years now, and I am also aware that it’s not actually hard or particularly exciting to have a herb garden, but whatever: I still think it basically makes me Giada.)

gnocchi with marinara sauce and fresh basil


What You Need:

  • About 1lb pre-made gnocchi (a couple of handfuls per person; gnocchi is fairly heavy stuff, so you likely don’t need as much of it as you might imagine)
  • 6-8 tomatoes
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/4″ cubes
  • 1 large handful fresh basil, roughly chopped

What You Do:

  1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, add the tomatoes, and boil until the skins loosen, 2 or 3 minutes. Remove them to a bowl with a slotted spoon, and once cool enough, pull the skins off. Roughly chop the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Saute the onions, stirring frequently, until translucent, adding the garlic for the last 30 seconds or so of cooking.
  3. Add the tomatoes, white wine, and about half the basil to the pan. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for half an hour or so, occasionally breaking up the tomatoes with the back of a spoon. When the sauce is thickened, you can either leave it as is, or use a blender or immersion blender to puree about half of it (don’t puree all of it, or you’ll lose the lovely texture).
  4. When the sauce is getting close to being done, bring another pot of water to a boil and cook the gnocchi according to package directions.
  5. Pour the cooked gnocchi into the pan, toss to combine, and sprinkle over the fresh mozzarella cubes. Set under the broiler for a few minutes, or until the cheese gets all melty. Sprinkle over the remaining basil and serve immediately.

four ingredient gnocchi with marinara sauce and fresh basil

P.S. If you’re feeling especially adorable, you can do as pictured above and separate the gnocchi into individual mini cast-iron pans. I do not have mini cast-iron pans and probably couldn’t be bothered to do this even if I did, but the picture was too cute not to show you.

Pic via Bowl of Delicious.

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