Recipe: Gnocchi & Meatball Bake

This is a seriously simple dish to make (mostly because cheating is incredibly easy with a dish like this!) and it’s one that will absolutely satisfy you when you’re hungry and needing a food-cuddle kinda comfort. 

To feed 4, you will need:

  • 500g gnocchi
  • 12 meatballs (see my meatball recipe here)
  • 2 x 125g (drained weight) buffalo mozzarella balls 
  • 1 brown onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Handful chopped pancetta/3 rashers
  • Thumb size piece of red chilli
  • 2 tins of chopped tomato
  • Fresh parsley

To create your masterpiece:

  1. Set your oven to 180°C. Bring a pot of water to the boil.
  2. Finely dice your onion and chilli and some parsley. Chop the bacon/pancetta. Crush the garlic.
  3. Fry the onions for a few minutes to soften then add the pancetta/bacon and chilli until the meat cooks. Set aside until you’re nearly finished the next step.
  4. Brown your meatballs all over in a frying pan to ensure they keep their shape when we add them to your sauce.
  5. When your meatballs are nearly done: Add the tomatoes, garlic and parsley and bring to the boil for a few minutes.
  6. Add the gnocchi to the pan of water and boil as per packet instructions – but essentially until the gnocchi floats!
  7.  Add the meatballs to your tomato sauce and allow to boil for a minute before adding the gnocchi. 
  8. Transfer 1/3 of the mixture into an oven-safe dish, chuck in some mozzarella pieces, add another layer of sauce and repeat. PS. My oven dish was too small so it kind of exploded in the oven…beware!
  9. Cover the top with mozzarella (we found flattening the mozzarella pearls with the back of a wooden spoon was ideal!) and bake for 15-20 minutes.
  10. Serve with some fresh parsley and voila!

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