This is the kind of comforting bake to whip up when you have friends coming over midweek and you want to make something delicious, but casual. It’s an intensely flavoursome, cheesy and meaty dish that everybody will love, including kids. The trick to making this knockout meal is to get the seasoning just right, otherwise the mince will lack flavour – so don’t be shy when adding salt and freshly ground black pepper.
For a healthier twist, try this pumpkin gnocchi with crushed baby tomatoes
Tomato, mince and Parmesan baked gnocchi
- olive oil, to fry
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- leaves of 3 fresh rosemary sprigs, finely chopped
- small handful fresh thyme leaves
- 250ml (1 cup) red wine
- 500g beef mince
- 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
- 375ml (1½ cups) beef stock
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 x 500g store-bought gnocchi
- 2 handfuls grated Parmesan
- charred vine tomatoes, to serve (optional)
To a large pot, add a drizzle of olive oil. Fry the minced garlic over low heat, 1 minute, before adding the rosemary and thyme. Cook, a further 2 minutes, before adding the red wine. Increase the heat to high and reduce the wine, about 10 minutes, until barely any liquid remains. Add the beef mince and stir, breaking up any lumps with a wooden spoon. Cook the mince,5 minutes, before adding the tomatoes and beef stock. Simmer the mixture over medium heat, about 20 minutes. Taste and season generously.
Add the gnocchi to the mince mixture and mix to combine, then simmer, 3 minutes. Taste a piece of gnocchi to check that it’s cooked. If the gnocchi isn’t tender, simmer, a further 1 – 2 minutes.
Preheat the grill to very hot and add the mince-gnocchi mixture to a medium casserole dish (about 25cm2, although it doesn’t need to be exactly that size). Sprinkle the grated Parmesan over the mixture in the casserole dish and place under the hot grill, about 3 – 4 minutes. Keep a close eye as you don’t want the cheese to burn – you want it to be bubbly and golden. Serve immediately, topped with charred vine tomatoes, if desired.
Recipe and styling by Claire Ferrandi Assisted by Nomvuselelo Mncube Photographs by Dylan Swart