Saturday, April 10, 2021: Crispy Gnocchi with Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Basil
April 11th, 2021 by Max Koster

Welcome to, a website I (Max) started with my sister Alex 5 years ago to talk about kids’ cooking, healthy eating, and the challenge of hunger worldwide.  To learn more about why we started the site and what hunger-relief charities we support, please scroll down a bit to the “About Us” page and consider donating to a hunger-relief charity.  Feeding America, a charity we support, projects that 42 million people (1 in 8), including 13 million children (1 in 6) will experience food insecurity in 2021 due to the economic impact of COVID-19, so every dollar donated helps.

As I prepare for college next year,  I plan on handing over complete control of this site to Alex.  However, in the meantime, I am focusing on cooking simple one-sheet or one-pan dishes, with minimal ingredients, since I know next year I won’t have the luxury of my parents’ well-equipped kitchen when I get hungry for home-cooked meals.  Because of this, a recipe in this weekend’s New York Times from Ali Slagle appealed to me.  Tonight’s dinner is largely based on her recipe for Crispy Gnocchi With Burst Tomatoes and Mozzarella.

Here are the ingredients you will need:

  • 1 Tablespoon, plus more as needed, of olive oil
  • 1 12-18 ounce package of either shelf-stable or refrigerated potato gnocchi
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 Teaspoon storebought minced garlic  (OK to use fresh minced garlic but use 2 cloves)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1-pint grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 Cup thinly sliced basil leaves (optional)
  • 6 Ounces of fresh mozzarella cut in 1/4 inch thick rounds


The first step is to heat the broiler with a rack 6-8 inches below the heat source. Then, in a 12-inch oven-safe saucepan (i.e. stainless steel) heat the olive oil.  Make sure the oil coats the whole surface of the pan and add the gnocchi and spread evenly.  Cover and cook for 4 minutes.


Meanwhile thinly slice the basil.


Once the gnocchi are golden brown and crispy on one side, remove from the saucepan and add the butter to the pan.


Once the butter is melted and slightly brown, add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds and then add the tomatoes and 2 tablespoons water.  Salt and pepper the mix.


Let the tomatoes cook for 5 minutes and when they start to soften, push down on them to make them burst.

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Add back the gnocchi, sprinkle with most of the basil (reserve a bit for garnish), and lay the mozzarella slices on top.

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Then the pan goes into the oven and broils for 1-2 minutes (until the mozzarella is melted and starting to brown). Keep an eye on the dish, as you don’t want the mozzarella to completely brown. Sprinkle your reserved basil on top and, as my mom always tells me, remember the handle of the pan is HOT.


And we are ready to eat! Delicious and truly a one-pot pasta dish: you don’t even have to boil water for the gnocchi.

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