A Squared: What's For Dinner Wednesday: Gnocchi & Spinach Al Forno

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What's For Dinner Wednesday: Gnocchi & Spinach Al Forno

Well hello, Wednesday!  With the spring weather finally approaching I've been on a spring cleaning mission lately-- and that includes my refrigerator.  In an effort to get rid of excess 'stuff' and to be more frugal (you know, that whole money saving thing) I decided to frame this week's grocery list around using up food that we already had on hand.  I had marinara sauce in the freezer (I make it homemade in big batches and then freeze it in smaller servings-- it's way better than that salty/sugary jarred stuff), a package of gnocchi in the pantry, and a little bit of ricotta in the fridge leftover from an Italian cheesecake recipe.  I picked up a few more ingredients at the store and there was dinner!  Easy enough.  Also, I always have panko breadcrumbs in my pantry and they were a last minute addition when I was assembling this dish-- they added a really great crunch to the topping so don't skip that step!

Okay, so it isn't the prettiest dinner. But it was easy and delicious!

Gnocchi & Spinach Al Forno

Ingredients
  • 1 package of dry gnocchi *I prefer the gnocchi you find in the vacuum packages in the pasta aisle vs. the frozen bagged kind.  Sometimes you can also get the whole wheat kind too, which is great in a baked dish like this one.
  • 2 1/2 cups raw baby spinach, chopped
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1/3 cup part skim ricotta
  • 1/3 cup pecorino romano, grated
  • 1/2 cup part skim mozzarella, shredded and divided
  • 3 Tbs. panko breadcrumbs
  • cooking spray
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the gnocchi to the boiling water and cook until the gnocchi begins to float.  This usually takes less than 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and drain well.  Combine gnocchi, spinach, marinara, ricotta, romano, and 1/4 cup mozzarella.  Pour into a glass 8x8 baking dish lightly coated with cooking spray.  Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella evenly over the top of the gnocchi mixture.  Follow that by sprinkling the breadcrumbs evenly on top of the cheese.  Bake for about 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Remove the baking dish from the oven and turn on your broiler.  Once the broiler has heated up, carefully place the baking dish under the broiler and broil for about 5 minutes or until the topping brown and bubbly.  Remove and let cool for a few minutes and then serve.  This makes about 5 servings.

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