If you’re a pasta lover looking for something a little bit different, this gnocchi gratin is the perfect solution. These versatile Italian potato dumplings can be cooked a number of different ways but for this recipe we’ve gone for a double whammy, pan-frying them to give them a crispy coat before baking them in a rich aubergine and tomato sauce. Topped with a golden cheesy crumb and served with a simple rocket salad, this really is Mediterranean comfort cooking at its best.
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Gnocchi(ContainsCereals containing gluten)
Panko Breadcrumbs(ContainsCereals containing gluten)
Grated Hard Italian Style Cheese(ContainsMilk, Egg)
Preheat your grill to high. Remove the stalk top from the aubergine, halve it lengthways, cut into 2cm wide strips, then chop into 2cm cubes. Place it on a baking tray and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle on the cumin and drizzle over some oil. Mix well, then arrange in a single layer. Grill until browned, 10-12 mins. Turn halfway through cooking to make sure the aubergine doesn't burn. Keep to one side when cooked.
Meanwhile, heat a glug of oil in a frying pan over high heat. Pan-fry the gnocchi until golden brown, 8-10 mins. Turn frequently to make sure they brown evenly.
In the meantime, halve, peel and thinly slice the shallot. Peel and grate the garlic (or use a garlic press). Pick the basil leaves from their stalks and roughly chop (discard the stalks).
When the gnocchi are ready, transfer to an ovenproof dish and return the now empty pan to medium heat. Add a splash of oil if your pan is dry and cook the shallot until softened, 4-5 mins. Add the garlic and dried thyme. Cook for 1 minute more, then add the tomato passata and balsamic vinegar. Simmer for 5 mins, then stir in the basil and baby spinach until wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
When the aubergine has browned, add it to the tomato sauce, then spoon this on top of the gnocchi in the dish and stir together. In a small bowl, mix the breadcrumbs with the hard Italian cheese, a drizzle of oil and a good grind of black pepper. Sprinkle this on top of the dish and grill until golden, 3-4 mins. Tip: Keep and eye on it, you don't want the crumb to burn!
Whilst the gratin is under the grill, toss the rocket in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil. Serve the gnocchi gratin in deep bowls and finish with the rocket salad. Enjoy!