I first met Gnocchi the first time about 3 years ago, and it was love at first sight. It was at Jamie’s with one of my friend in London. She had ordered a portion of this while I stuck to the pasta servings. I took a bite from hers and instantly fell in love with for that smooth, chewy, cheesy devil. I actually made my friend swap the dishes so I could have the remaining of her gnocchi. That, coming from a pasta obsessed person like me, means a lot. I have tried to find Gnocchi at some other Italian restaurants as well since then, but haven’t found in the menu of any decent pasta places around. I wonder why?
What is Gnocchi?
Gnocchi is a soft, chewy dumpling that may be made from potato, semolina, ordinary wheat flour, egg, cheese, breadcrumbs, or a combination of similar ingredients. It is an Italian dish in general, but is also served and loved in other European countries like France, Spain, Croatia etc. and even South America.
I have tried store bought gnocchi and that isn’t so bad either. I haven’t tried my hands on making it from scratch at home, it’s a bit of effort I’ve heard. But I am very much up for it, whenever I get some free time in hand and enough motivation in mind.
S doesn’t like Gnocchi for some really senseless reason of it being similar to pasta. And in his words, why not to have pasta instead since that’s easily available in restaurants and you have to chew less (!?) I know!
This recipe for Gnocchi came out totally as an accident when I was trying to prepare a curried soup rather than a bake. But at the end the consistency of the soup was very thick so I thought of preparing a curry and ended up with the bake instead. And I am glad I did. This dish has every ingredient I love to the core. Gnocchi, curry sauce, cheese and spinach. A big fan of all of these.
I haven’t used white wine in this recipe, since it wasn’t planned dish. But I would have loved to use some in the sauce if the result was predefined. And the curry sauce is also homemade, the recipe of which I have given below. But if you don’t have that much time in hand, simply go for any of your favourite curry sauce from the market.
Adding the cheese to the sauce really took it 5 notches up. And the creamy base of the sauce coated the gnocchi well and held up the robust flavours. I can’t imagine how much better it would be with some fresh home-made Gnocchi…which is yet another excuse for me to make this again!
What you need?
- 1 packet gnocchi (I have used about 500 gms of store bought packet)
- 1 cup grated cheese (I used a mix of Mozzarella and Cheddar)
- 1 cups packed spinach
- ½ tsp crushed black pepper
For curry sauce (will yield about 1 ½ cups of curry sauce)
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter (I never said its fat free!)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4-5 garlic pods, minced
- A small piece of ginger, grated or minced
- 3-4 large tomatoes, chopped
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp red chili flakes or red chili powder
- 1-2 bay leaves
- ½ tsp coriander powder
- ¼ tsp cardamom powder (or 1 crushed cardamom)
- 1 tsp Garam Masala
- Salt to taste – about 1 tsp
- ½ cup fresh cream
- 1 cup water
- Start with cooking the Gnocchi as per the instructions on the packet. Should be about 10-12 minutes. Drain and keep aside, covered.
- In the meanwhile, prepare the curry sauce. Heat oil + butter in a deep pan or wok. Add in bay leaf and cumin seeds and when it sizzles, add in chopped garlic and ginger. Fry for a minute on low flame.
- Throw in chopped onion and fry till it turns golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. Finally add in chopped tomatoes along with all the spices and cook it further for 8-10 minutes, covered with the lid on top.
- Once the tomatoes are cooked through, add chopped spinach leaves and mix well. Cook further for 2-3 minutes till all the leaves are wilted.
- Now, add 1 cup of water to the pan and mix it well. Turn the flame at high, and bring the water to a boil. Turn it to medium and let it cook for another minute or so. we just need to get the water blend with the paste well. Turn the flame to low.
- Keeping the gas as low, add cream to the sauce gently folding it. let it simmer for just a minute and turn off.
- Add the cooked gnocchi to the sauce and fold in. transfer this to a baking dish and spread grated cheese on top.
- Bake this at 180 degree C (375 F), for about 12-15 minutes till the cheese starts bubbling.
- Serve hot with some garlic bread or salad aside.
- You can totally skip making the curry sauce at home, and use store bought jar of 500 gms curry sauce instead. If you do that- get either Tikka masala or Butter masala sauce.
- You will get the coriander powder in any Indian grocery store or the world food aisle in the supermarket.
- I also added a small piece of leftover red bell pepper to the sauce with spinach. You may also add mushrooms, broccoli or any other veggie of your choice.
- You may skip the butter and use only the oil, though it gives a nice punch to the dish. Or you may use more butter and less oil, your choice.
- For a Vegan version of the same – skip the cheese. And instead of the cream, use ½ cup thin cashew paste instead. After adding the same, cook the sauce for 3-5 minutes so it blends well.
Another one of my favourite Pasta skillet is this
And this one here is another superb dish: