by Ali Slagel
“Cooking New York Times” Website
As much as I love my cookbooks, sometimes I just don’t have the time to dawdle among the pages to find a recipe. I just can’t resist browsing through the gorgeous photos and dreaming about when I’ll make each dish. I have been known to open a cookbook in search of a recipe, only to find that an hour or more has passed, and dinner will be late!
When I don’t want to risk such an event, I open my computer, instead of a cookbook, and go straight to the website, www.cooking.nytimes.com. Just type in what you want to cook, and a bevy of recipes will appear, with mouthwatering pictures as well. Many of my favorite cookbook authors have recipes on this website. I also love all the features that it has to make cooking life easier.
One day when I was searching for a recipe, I came across a picture for “Crunchy Gnocchi,” and I immediately saved it to “my recipe box,” knowing that I’d be making it very soon. That’s one of the great features of this website. You can save the recipes you might be interested in making, or have made and know you’ll want to make again.
This is one recipe I have made over and over again, and everyone leaves with the recipe!
I made one change to this recipe, which I think enhances it. I added cubed eggplant, and I think it adds another dimension to the dish. But if you’re not an eggplant lover, you can omit it, and just make the recipe as is. You won’t be disappointed.
RECIPE: 4 servings
2 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
2 (12 to 18 ounce) packages shelf-stable potato gnocchi (not frozen)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp. red-pepper flakes, plus more for serving
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 pints small tomatoes, such as cherry or grape (if tomatoes are larger than I’d like, I halve them)
1/4 cup thinly torn basil leaves, plus more for serving
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
optional…1 large eggplant, unpeeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
- Heat the broiler with a rack about 6 inches from the heat source
- In a large (12 to 14 inch) skillet on the stovetop, heat enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan (about 1 TBSP) over medium heat This is when you would saute the eggplant, if you are using it, until soft, but not mushy. Add more oil if needed. Remove from pan and set aside in a bowl.
- Wipe out the pan and heat another 1 TBSP of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add half the gnocchi to the pan, breaking up any that are stuck together. Cover with a lid or baking sheet and cook, undisturbed, until golden brown on one side, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with the remaining gnocchi and olive oil. Transfer to the same bowl. One side will have a crisp, golden color.
- Add the butter to the skillet and cook over medium-high, stirring often until golden brown and toasty, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, 1 1/2 tsp. salt and a few grinds of pepper, reducing the heat slightly if necessary to avoid scorching. Add the tomatoes and 3 TBSP of water and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the tomatoes have softened and the liquid has slightly thickened, 4 to 6 minutes. Smash the tomatoes as they burst, to help them along.
- Add the seared gnocchi ( and eggplant, if using), stir to coat, then shake into an even layer. Top with mozzarella and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Brown until the cheese is melted and browned in spots, 2 to 4 minutes. Top with more basil, red-pepper as desired.