Try this meal once and it may become one of your go-to meals! Pan fry gnocchi until golden and crispy, then toss in a simple but very tasty cherry tomato and basil sauce. The icing on the cake is a sprinkle of tangy feta cheese!
Heat up around 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan.
Add the cherry tomatoes and garlic. Let cook on high for a few minutes, then turn down the heat to medium. Add around ¼ cup (or 60ml) of water. Cook until the tomatoes break down into a chunky sauce (around 20 minutes). Shake the pan from time to time.
While the sauce is cooking, prepare the gnocchi. Boil water in a really large saucepan. Add the gnocchi and boil just until they begin to float to the top.
Scoop the gnocchi that have floated to the top out of the water with a slotted spoon and let them drain briefly in a colander.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan on a medium heat. When it starts to sizzle lightly, add the gnocchi in one layer. Let them cook for at least 5 minutes before moving them, or until they are starting to go golden and crispy on the bottom. Turn them over (or shake the pan if they're the rounded packaged kind) to let the other side brown, or shake the pan a few more times until they look crispy all over (around 10 minutes).
Take the gnocchi off the heat. Stir the balsamic vinegar and honey into the sauce. Add plenty of salt and pepper. Stir in the basil. Add a splash or two more water to loosen up the sauce if necessary.
Quickly toss the sauce through the gnocchi in the pan. Serve immediately. Garnish with the crumbled/grated cheese.
Should you use packaged gnocchi or homemade?
My vote goes with homemade, but it's fine to use packaged in this recipe too. I've used both good quality packaged (homemade from a farmer's market) or I've made my own.If you'd like to make your own, here is a basic recipe for potato gnocchi (you only need potatoes, flour, an egg and a bit of salt):
Bake 1 pound/450 grams potatoes in their skins. You can either microwave for 8 to 10 minutes, bake in the oven for an hour to an hour and a half, or cook in your air fryer for about 40 minutes. Cut the potatoes in half and scoop out the potato flesh with a big spoon. Mash well in a medium bowl.
Tip one cup of plain flour onto a large wooden board or clean work surface. Make a well in the middle and add the mashed potato, 1 egg and half a teaspoon of salt.
Bring together and knead with your hands until you have a soft dough. Divide the dough into 4. Flour your surface and roll each piece of dough out into a long 'sausage' with your hands. Cut the 'sausage' into small rectangles. Your gnocchi are ready to cook!
Can't you just pan fry the gnocchi without boiling them first?
Yes you probably can. I just prefer to boil them briefly first so they are nice and fluffy and pillowy inside and there's no chance of a nasty raw flour taste. Just don't overboil them, though - just until they start to float to the top.This way you won't end up with any soggy, disintegrating gnocchi!
Making the gnocchi ahead and freezing it
I usually try to make some gnocchi ahead and freeze it. Especially when I have some potatoes that need using up quickly. Then you have your own pre-made gnocchi and don't need to rely on often sub-par supermarket versions!Just freeze the uncooked gnocchi on baking paper lined trays for a couple of hours. Then empty them into freezer bags and freeze until you want to make this recipe. You DON'T need to defrost the gnocchi first - just tip it into the boiling water while still frozen. It might seem like a hassle to make your own gnocchi, but they're really quick and easy to make. They also taste amazing!
Getting the right consistency to the sauce
I usually add a few extra splashes of water to the sauce before tossing it through the gnocchi. There are no rules on exactly how much. Just use your judgement and add enough so that it's still chunky but loose enough to actually look like a sauce and not just a pan of squishy tomatoes!
Amount of garlic
The sauce is quite garlic-y! If you aren't such a fan of garlic, just reduce the amount you use to just 2 cloves.
Amount of cheese
I haven't specified an exact amount of cheese to sprinkle over the top of the meal. I'd start with a smallish amount and let people add more if they like.I prefer to use feta cheese and I usually use about a quarter of a 250 gram packet, so about 60 grams (2 ounces).
Air frying the gnocchi
You can also air fry the gnocchi instead of pan frying. Spray lightly with oil in the air fryer basket and cook for about 15 minutes at 390F/200C.