By Sheela Prakash
The moment I realized there’s more than one way to cook gnocchi, my life forever changed for the better. Forget waiting for a pot of water to boil — roasting gnocchi — whether it’s the classic potato version, a sweet potato variety, or Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi — is not only easier, it’s aruguably tastier. The gnocchi turn crispy and golden-brown on the outside and cook up to be perfectly tender on the inside. They’re the ultimate base for this Mediterranean-inspired recipe I turn to weekly.
My Very Favorite Mediterranean Dinner Starts With a Sheet Pan
Out of all the kitchen tools I utilize the most week in and week out, a rimmed baking sheet is easily the most reached for. Sheet pan dinners are a lifesaver on hectic weeknights. Toss a handful of items on the baking sheet, let it roast away while you settle in after work, and in almost no time you have a complete meal that you won’t spend the whole night cleaning up after.
This one relies on the surprising notion that you don’t actually need to boil packaged potato or cauliflower gnocchi. Whether you bought it fresh or frozen from the grocery store, it can actually be roasted with a little olive oil instead. Cooking them this way results in gnocchi that are more akin to roasted potatoes than the pillowy dumplings you’re used to. I find their crispy, chewy texture absolutely habit-forming, especially when you add a colorful array of vegetables to the mix.
A Mix-and-Match Vegetable Formula Keeps Things Interesting
Vegetables are a key component in just about anything Mediterranean-leaning and this recipe is no exception. Bell peppers, red onion, garlic cloves, and cherry tomatoes are tossed with the uncooked gnocchi and they all go in the oven to roast together. While the gnocchi cooks, the vegetables caramelize and soften. Some of the tomatoes burst during this process to form a loose sauce for the gnocchi that’s savory and fresh-tasting.
I always keep the tomatoes in the equation for their juiciness but I’ve found that just about any other vegetable works well here. Sometimes I swap the peppers for sliced zucchini or cubed eggplant and other times I add sliced cremini mushrooms. This dish doesn’t need meat to be satisfying but sliced fully cooked chicken sausage is another great addition if that’s what you’re craving. How ever it’s customized, this sheet pan dinner is the 20-minute meal that makes my weeknights easier — it make your weeknights easier, too.