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Author Notes: This recipe requires only a little chopping, crumbling, or even patience. But the most fascinating step this recipe lacks? Mixing. This baked gnocchi recipe eliminates one crucial step that’s key to a solid baked pasta: mixing the sauce in. Where pasta starts to dry out immediately after being strained, the gnocchi does not.By carefully spooning the sauce atop our potato puffs and not mixing, here is what happens: pockets of tomato sauce form in every nook and cranny of the baking dish. Some sections will even caramelize and acquire a deeper tomato flavor. The gnocchi will absorb some of sauce, but most will rest untouched. The best part is that every now and then, you’ll drag a gnocco through the sauce and discover a surprise. —Jane Katz
- kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound fresh gnocchi
- 1 cup marinara sauce
- 1/4 pound fontina cheese, cubed
- 1 sprig fresh basil, chopped or torn
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Add olive oil to your baking dish (I used a 24oz au gratin dish from Le Creuset) and rub oil all over the pan with a pastry brush or paper towel. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Salt the water generously. When the salt has dissolved, add the gnocchi and cook for 3-4 minutes, until they float to the top.
- Once the gnocchi are floating, use a slotted spoon to remove them from the boiling water, being sure to shake off any excess liquid.
- Place them into the oiled dish and add cubed fontina, distributing evenly.
- Spoon over 1 cup marinara gently. Do not mix.
- Bake the pasta for 10-15 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the sauce is bubbling.
- Remove from the oven and snip fresh basil over the top. Enjoy immediately!