Mini gnocchi are paired with fire-roasted tomatoes, bacon, red onions, and topped with thick slices of smoked mozzarella. Baked to perfection, this classic Italian fare brings amazing savory flavor and is the ultimate comfort food!
About ten years ago, just after Jason and I were married, Jason was assigned extended international business travel with his company to their Avezzano, Italy site. It was tough being apart, as I was still working in the US. However, I was able visit a couple times while he was there. I can say with fair certainty, that some of the best food I’ve ever had in my life was in Italy. It was also one of the first times I ever had gnocchi. To relive a bit of our Italian adventure, I made this amazing Smokey Baked Gnocchi.
Gnocchi are little dumplings, often used in Italian cooking. Utilized much like a pasta, its really versatile and can be cooked with many sauces, added to soups, and baked. With smokey flavors in mind, I added the gnocchi to fire-roasted tomatoes along with bacon, and sauteed red onions. Topped with thick slices of smoked mozzarella, this baked pasta dish was completely amazing!!Once it finished baking I added some additional bacon to the top along with some sliced basil. The peppery basil adds a fantastic complimentary freshness and as always, goes well with the tomatoes and mozzarella. It adds some nice color, too!
This baked gnocchi was really easy to pull together and was a great week-night meal. Because most of the cooking is done in the skillet before the pasta goes into the oven, it doesn’t take long to bake. About 20-25 minutes is all it needs to melt the cheese, and then its ready to serve. Instead of doing large slices of mozzarella, you can also shred the cheese and add it to the top. This will also help cut the baking time, as once the cheese melts, its ready to serve.
- 1 lb. mini gnocchi
- 1 (28 oz.) can, diced fire roasted tomatoes
- 1/2 lb. bacon, chopped
- 1/2 red onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 tsp. minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 lb. ball of smoked mozzarella
- sliced basil (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray a medium baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, saute the chopped bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon from the skillet and transfer to a paper-towel lined plate. Drain the majority of the bacon grease from the skillet, leaving about 2 Tbsp. of grease. To the hot grease add the red onion and cook until translucent (about 5 minutes.) Add the minced garlic to the onion and saute for a minute more. To the onion and garlic, add the gnocchi and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add the tomatoes (with juice), bacon, pepper and garlic powder. Bring to a simmer. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish, and top with the mozzarella.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.
As you can see, this comes together easily and is a wonderful dish to serve to company, or something for just you and the family. This is great served with a side salad and some garlic bread. It also pairs well with a good glass of wine.
I may not ever get back to Italy, but my husband and I love reliving this once-in-a-lifetime adventure by trying to recreate the phenomenal dishes we had there. I would recommend a trip to Italy to anyone, but you don’t have to fly halfway around the world to savor world-class Italian food. Italian cooking at home is one of my favorite ways to experience dining at its best!