I’m one of those weird specimens of people that look forward to my weekly grocery shop – it’s honestly one of the highlights of my week! I love planning recipes and being resourceful with my ingredients; I’ve even got a full list on paper of every item in my cupboard so that I don’t ever accidentally double buy something, or think I’ve got something I haven’t (Maybe a little bit intense, but with a memory like mine and and a deep love for buying excess food, it works for me!). I never want to be left short of an ingredient in a recipe half way through.
However, once in a while, I start to accumulate leftovers and half empty tins and bottles of ingredients that clutter up the cupboard. The best thing I find for these moments, is to throw everything in to one huge heartwarming dish – casseroles, pasta bakes, and pies!
Waste not, want not, is always the theme in my kitchen!
So, as I struggled to cram everything into my cupboard one last time, spices and tins balanced precariously on top of each other, I decided to make use of my super cheap Aldi gnocchi (I think it was 60p???) and throw all my half used goods in a pasta bake! Pasta bake is one of my favourite dishes ever. One day I’ll put up my favourite recipe (my Mum’s creation, of course), and I hope you enjoy that one just as much! I’ve never cooked gnocchi into a bake and had no clue how it would work, but I just went with it and I think it ended up pretty good.
So, I’ll be posting my particular recipe I used – my recipe was just using cupboard basics – really you can throw pretty much any vegetables, any combination of tomato sauces, any cheese, maybe some sausage or chorizo bits and make it your own – everything but the kitchen sink!
Ingredients: Serves 4 (or 2 very, very hungry students)
- 500g gnocchi
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 jar of any leftover pasta sauce (I used Dolmio creamy tomato, but any will do. Or simply add more tomatoes and some heavy cream/mascarpone, to make a simple version with whatever you’ve got lying around.)
- 1 white onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- Couple handfuls of frozen peas
- Any leftover veg – for my particular recipe I used the leftover roasted veg from my my ‘Spicy Roasted Vegetables and Quinoa’ recipe, which was essentially spicy aubergine, courgette, peppers and spring onions, as it added an extra element of spice which I really liked!
- 1 red pepper, finely chopped
- 1 ball of mozzarella
- Handful of fresh basil leaves
- Turn on the grill, and heat the oil in a large non stick frying pan.
- Add the onion and peppers and gently cook till soft. If you’re cooking other raw vegetables then also add them at this stage and cook them through – however if you are using leftovers then simply pour them in with the tomatoes, no fuss at all!
- Add the garlic and stir frequently.
- Pour in the tomatoes and sauce (and any cooked vegetables) after a minute so the garlic doesn’t burn, and then pour in the gnocchi.
- Season with salt and pepper (and optional chilli flakes) throughout, keep tasting!
- Bring everything to a simmer – at this stage I found it handy to add about 100ml of water, so the sauce fully covers the gnocchi and cooks it.
- Continue to simmer gently for around 10 minutes, or until the gnocchi is soft and pillowy – again, make sure to keep tasting!
- When the gnocchi seems almost cooked, add the frozen peas, which should quickly defrost and cook in around 3 minutes.
- Transfer to an oven proof dish and tear the mozzarella over in big chunks.
- Grill for around 5 minutes until the mozzarella has melted.
- Scatter with fresh basil leaves, and you’re done!
Now, hopefully your cupboard is a little tidier, your stomach is a little more full, and you can stock up with more exciting ingredients!