Creamy Mascarpone Tomato Gnocchi
Do you love gnocchi?
I’m almost as obsessed with gnocchi as I am with pesto. (As you can imagine, that means that pesto and gnocchi is a dangerous combination for me!!)
I will always have the best memories of the first time my mom made gnocchi for our family growing up, and my first bite of homemade, hand rolled gnocchi in Italy.
I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. Absolutely amazing!!!!
Cooking With What We've Got!
Today I’m combining my gnocchi obsession with the practical need to use the ingredients I have on hand to feed my family.
Something we can all relate to at this difficult time, right?
I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely seeing a shortage of pantry staples, like pasta, where I shop, but produce is still pretty abundant.
That’s where the gnocchi and the tomatoes come in for this recipe! Gnocchi has not been hard for me to find these days, same with tomatoes. So when the pasta craving hit our family last week, I knew I’d have fun creating a recipe that would use gnocchi, and all those cherry tomatoes on my counter that we didn’t want to waste!
This decadent tomato sauce is made creamy by pine nuts (which you could substitute with any mild flavored nut you have on hand, but if you have pine nuts, use them!!), and mascarpone.
If you haven’t yet cooked with mascarpone, you’re in for a treat! This luscious, mild, creamy Italian cheese is somewhat similar to American cream cheese. That’s not a perfect comparison—mascarpone is much smoother and more delicate in flavor than cream cheese, but they’re close enough that if you don’t have mascarpone, you could definitely substitute cream cheese, or vegan cream cheese to keep this dish vegan.
This meal is all about substitutions and using what you’ve got on hand!
My Favorite Gnocchi & Tomato Paste
I actually just restocked on gnocchi last week, but I did it on Amazon to avoid a trip to the grocery store. I was so impressed with this brand, Nocca [aff. link], that it’s officially my new favorite gnocchi!
Nocca is the closest to homemade gnocchi I’ve ever tried. Even better, Nocca gnocchi is vegan, and they also make a gluten free gnocchi [aff. link], so my Creamy Mascarpone Tomato Gnocchi can easily be made gluten free!
Also, to enhance the tomato flavor of this creamy tomato sauce, I use tubed tomato paste. This really is a miracle product! You just use the amount of tomato paste that you need, and store the rest of the tube in the fridge: no fuss, no mess, thanks to the convenient tube. I highly recommend getting a tube of my favorite tomato paste on Amazon [aff. link], soooo much more cost effective than the little cans at the grocery store that more often than not go to waste!
Keeping Our Spirits Up with Good Cooking!
One of the best ways to keep our spirits up during this difficult time is through homemade meals we can look forward to eating, take pride in preparing, and of course, savor when we actually sit down to eat! This Creamy Mascarpone Tomato Gnocchi has been exactly that type of meal for my family and me. I hope you’ll feel the same way!
What meals keep your spirits up during these long days at home?
Creamy Mascarpone Tomato Gnocchi
For the sauce:
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 ½ cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed (literally, just give them each a good smash with your knife!)
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 Tbsp pine nuts
- 2 Tbsp Parmesan, freshly ground (omit to keep vegan)
- 3 Tbsp mascarpone, use cream cheese as a substitute, or vegan cream cheese to keep this vegan
- 2 tsp tomato paste
- ½ cup water
- 28 oz gnocchi
- Basil, torn or chiffonade (see note below)
- Extra Parmesan
Make the sauce
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil for about a minute over medium heat. Now add the tomatoes, garlic, ½ tsp sea salt, and pepper to the skillet, and cook over medium heat for 7-8 minutes, until the tomatoes release their juices and begin to break down.
Start the gnocchi
- If you are up for multi-tasking, now is a great time to start the gnocchi, and make this an under 30 minute meal! Simply put the gnocchi in a big pot of water. Make sure the water covers the gnocchi by at least two inches.
- Turn the heat up to high, and just keep checking back on the gnocchi as you finish preparing the sauce. The gnocchi is done cooking when all the gnocchi rise to the top of the pot. (See photo above.)
- For me, this is usually about three minutes after the water has come to a boil, but it can vary, so just keep checking back on the pot!
Finish cooking the tomatoes
- Back to the tomatoes, turn the heat down to low and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Turn the heat off, and very carefully transfer the tomato mixture to your food processor.
Process the sauce
- Now add the pine nuts, Parmesan, and remaining ½ tsp sea salt to the tomato mixture in the food processor.
- Pulse everything a few times, then process for a few minutes until the mixture is pretty smooth. There will still be a little texture.
- Transfer the sauce back to the skillet, and set aside until the gnocchi has finished cooking.
Finish cooking the gnocchi
- If you multitasked with the gnocchi, it’s probably just about finished cooking at this point! If you haven’t started cooking the gnocchi, now is the time to start. Just follow the directions for gnocchi above.
- When the gnocchi has finished cooking, strain it.
Bring it all together
- Back to the skillet with the sauce, turn the heat on to medium, add the ½ cup water, 2 tsp tomato paste, and stir until the water and tomato paste are fully incorporated into the sauce.
- Once the water and tomato paste are completely mixed in, add the strained gnocchi to the pan, along with the 3 Tbsp of mascarpone.
- Keep the heat on medium, and stir everything together. Continue stirring gently until the mascarpone has completely melted into the sauce, and the sauce evenly coats the gnocchi.
Serve and enjoy!
- Taste, and add salt and stir a little basil into the dish if desired.
- Serve this Creamy Mascarpone Tomato Gnocchi alone or with some greens, and top each serving with a little basil and Parmesan.
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My Favorite Kitchen Find
Aren’t these little pink ramekins adorable? I use mine for making personal-sized desserts, like these cakelettes, as well as for prep work, and for storing food in the refrigerator. These are such a stylish addition to the kitchen! Click to view my favorite on Amazon
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