We Love Cooking! + [sugar]

:: Mozzarella, tomato and gnocchi bake!

Thankfully work is that little bit less busy this week, which has given us time not only to play in the snow, but also to spend some more time in our new little house. It's not there just yet, but it's really starting to take shape and after numerous trips to IKEA we finally have enough furniture to fill the place! I wasn't feeling very at home in the house, mainly because the last three weeks had been so jam packed, dinner was eaten out and breakfast was bought on the way. I know I know, not exactly the perfect routine, but there had been no time to set up the kitchen just the way I like it. So the last few days we've been making big breakfasts and enjoying really tasty dinners using up the ridiculous amount of food I've left over from all the cooking we've been doing. Ireland, for my foreign visitors, at the moment is experiencing probably the most snow that I can even remember, so I think it's definitely time for some comfort food. This recipe was from a piece I wrote on comfort food for the Irish Independent. I suggest using ready to go gnocchi, but if you are lucky enough to be snowed in, it's all the more comforting to make them yourself!

Mozzarella, Tomato and Gnocchi Bake
Gnocchi in Italian translates as ‘lumps’, and it goes way beyond pasta as my ultimate bowl of indulgence. You can make the gnocchi yourself, but you should be able to pick up packs of the ready-made stuff quite easily. This dish combines the classic Italian flavours of tomato, mozzarella and basil, all baked together for a fantastic comforting dinner.

Serves 4
500g fresh gnocchi
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2x400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
2x125g mozzarella balls, sliced
1 tsp sugar
Handful of basil leaves
Sea salt and black pepper, to season

Cook the gnocchi according to the instructions on the packet, then drain and set aside. Heat the olive oil over a high heat and sauté the garlic and onion until soft. Add in the chopped tomatoes and chilli flakes and bring the sauce to the boil.
Lower the heat and cook at a steady simmer for 15 minutes until it has reduced. Add in the sugar and season with sea salt and ground black pepper. Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6. Tumble the gnocchi into the pan and stir through with the tomato sauce until each piece is nicely coated.
Pour into a highsided baking dish (9in x 9in) and top with the mozzarella slices and torn basil leaves. Place in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the top is nicely golden brown and bubbling. Serve straight away in deep bowls with a little grated Parmesan.