Alida says: “I picked up a small box of the most perfect tomatoes the other day (and like a real smarty pants, forgot to photograph it) and after a few days of enjoying them simply with salt, I decided to turn the ones with wrinkly skin into a glorious tomato sauce. I kept things super simple and flavoured the sauce with a couple of bay leaves and fresh basil. I had a few packets of ready-made gnocchi in the pantry and decided to drench in them in this sauce, stud the whole thing with chunks of mozzarella and give it a quick go under the grill for the cheese to get all golden and gooey. The end result was this pretty awesome gnocchi bake which had all the flavours of summer with just the right amount of comfort I was craving.”
Preparation time – 15 minutes
Cooking time 1 hour
Total time 1 hour 15 minutes
for the tomato and basil sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil (I used a basil-flavoured one)
1 red onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
6 large, ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
½ cup tomato passata
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
salt & pepper to taste
small handful fresh basil leaves, roughly torn
For the gnocchi bake
1kg ready-made gnocchi , boiled in salted water until cooked then drained
100g mozzarella, cubed
fresh basil leaves
To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a large pan then fry the onion until soft and translucent.
Add the garlic and fry for another 30 seconds before adding the tomatoes.
Allow the tomatoes to cook until they start to break down then add the passata, bay leaves, sugar, salt and pepper.
Turn the heat down and allow to gently simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Add a splash of water if you see the sauce cooking down too much.
When the sauce is cooked, adjust the seasoning and add the fresh basil.
Pre-heat the oven (with grill setting) to 220°c.
Combine the cooked gnocchi with the sauce then add cubes of mozzarella.
Bake in the pre-heated oven for 10-15 minutes until the cheese has melted.
Remove and top with fresh basil before serving.
Michael’s wine recommendation – CLICK HERE
Alida Ryder is one of my favourite food people. Excellent cook, recipe developer, great photographer. Her website has a huge following and she is doing things she could only have dreamed of a few years ago. She’s written two books Simple & Delicious and Cook from the heart. Click here to go to her fabulous website. Click here to buy her first e-book.