Sunday, 21 June 2015

Bacon, Spinach and Tomato Gnocchi Bake recipe

Both Dave and I are big fans of Fage Total greek yoghurt. We first
Gnocchi bake 
discovered it in a Spanish supermarket and are delighted that it is sold in the UK too. Other brands just don't seem to have the same richness and creaminess. We usually buy the big 500g tubs, which make four dessert portions, and liberally douse it in locally produced honey. Delicious! However, the tubs are printed with recipes and the idea of a Gnocchi Bake was one I thought I would like to try. I have eaten gnocchi before - most memorably at the Croatian restaurant where Dave lost his crown (tooth, not headwear) - but I haven't cooked it myself before. I wasn't enthusiastic enough to make my own from scratch this time around so we bought a 300g pack of premade dumplings. It turns out that they are even easier and quicker to cook than pasta! I've adapted the original Total recipe down to two servings.

Splash of rapeseed oil (or olive oil)
100ml Fage Total greek yoghurt
1/2 red onion, diced
3 rashers smoked back bacon, cut into smallish pieces
125g baby plum tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp water
120g spinach leaves
300g gnocchi

Heat the oil in a pan. Add the onion and bacon and cook gently for about five minutes or until the onion has softened.

Add the halved tomatoes to the pan with the water and cook for five minutes until softened.

Add the spinach, cook until wilted, then remove the pan from the heat.

Preheat the oven to 190c. Our caravan oven actually needed 200c to get the bake bubbling within the time stated.

In another pan, bring salted water to the boil and add the gnocchi. Simmer for a couple of minutes until the gnocchi float, then drain them and add them to first pan.

Spoon the yoghurt in with everything else and stir to mix thoroughly. Don't be too energetic because you don't want to break up the gnocchi or the bacon bits. I thought the mixture looked far too runny at this point, but it dries out enough in the oven.

Pour the gnocchi mixture into an ovenproof dish and bake for 15 minutes or until the yoghurt is bubbling. Serve immediately. 

I used my large Le Creuset dish because it is attractive as tableware and we wanted to eat outside in our new awning where food cools more quickly. I thought keeping part portions in the oven dish would help retain its heat longer - and it did. Ironically, the sun had come out in the evening, after rain for most of the day, and it was soporifically warm in our 'conservatory'.

We both enjoyed this recipe, my only criticism being the toughness of some of the tomato skins. It would be a faff to pick them all out during cooking, but maybe cherry tomatoes would be better? Or a tbsp of tomato puree? I think this bake is a great base recipe for swapping ingredients and using up whatever we have to hand. I am already planning to use chorizo bits in place of the bacon, and maybe broad beans instead of spinach? The possibilities are endless!


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