Baked Gnocchi with bacon, tomato, and mozzarella

This is comfort food at it’s finest. It’s where it’s at and what it’s all about. Little pillows of happiness (gnocchi) are smothered in a delicious tomato based ‘sauce’ with bacon and topped with mozzarella cheese that’s baked to golden-brown perfection. And, let’s be honest, what doesn’t taste better with bacon? Mmm, bacon.

Comfort food for those who need comforting. Even if you’re not in need of copious amounts of comforting, it’s ok to splurge once in a while. Caloricaly speaking, of course.

Baked Gnocchi with bacon, tomato, and mozzarella

4 Sons 'R' Us: Baked Gnocchi

recipe adapted from Simply Delicious

1 16 oz pkg of gnocchi
8 slices of bacon, chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 roma tomatoes; fleshy parts diced
1 tsp sugar
2-3 tbsp sour cream
2-3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

Directions

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°c.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, and in the meantime, make the sauce.
3. In a large, hot frying pan, fry the bacon until starting to crisp with most of the fat rendered.
4. Pour off most of the fat then add the garlic and smoked paprika and fry for 30 seconds.
5. Add all of the tomatoes and the sugar and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
6. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cream, parsley and seasoning.
7. Cook the gnocchi in the salted water until it starts floating to the top. Remove with a slotted spoon and add to the sauce.
8. Transfer the gnocchi and sauce to an oven-proof dish and top with the sliced mozzarella.
9. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes until the mozzarella is melted and golden.
10. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Caprese Grilled Cheese

Cheese. Cheeeeeeeese. Glorious cheese. Let’s take a moment to reflect on that. A moment of silence for cheese.

Our family loves cheese. In all it’s types, colors, flavors. In all it’s cheesy glory. We might even have a mild case of cheese addiction. Ok, we do, and ‘mild’ is probably an understatement. But, can there really be such a thing as too much cheese? Definitely not.

That being said, we all love a good, crisp, slightly crunchy grilled cheese with an ooey, gooey melty center. You know that part where you cut it in two, or in quarters, and pull out strings of cheese that could stretch forever when you try to take that first bite? Yeah, that’s my favorite part. My kids’, too.

As I’ve grown, you know into a ‘responsible adult’, there are some things from my childhood I’ve never been able to let go of. Despite all the changes of adulthood & parenthood, my love for a grilled cheese has not abated or been diminished. Luckily for me, my kids have inherited that same affinity. However, in an effort to appear grown up when I devour one, I’ve tried very hard to create and make ‘grown up’ grilled cheese sandwiches. I couldn’t leave them behind, but I did have to make sure they, at least some of the time, appeared to evolve with me.

Caprese Grilled Cheese is one of my favorite ‘grown-up’ versions to date. Everything I love about the original, but heartier. The butter, parmesan crust creates the perfect ‘crunch’ when bitten into. This sandwich offers everything a grilled cheese purist would expect, but has the power to convert all new fans with it’s fancy, shmancy new style. What’s the fun in being grown-up if you can’t be childish sometimes too? Here’s the perfect cheesy compromise. Eat like an adult, enjoy it like a kid.

The recipe below is for 2 sandwiches, but it easily doubles, or even triples. So don’t let that hold you back!

Caprese Grilled Cheese

4 Sons 'R' Us: Caprese Grilled Cheese

  • 4 thick slices of french bread
  • 2-3 tomatoes, sliced
  • 6 oz. mozzarella, sliced or shredded
  • 8-10 fresh, large basil leaves
  • 2-3 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • balsamic vinegar, optional

Directions

  1. Heat a large skillet to medium heat.
  2. Spread butter on one side of all four slices of bread. Sprinkle the Parmesan evenly over the butter.
  3. Put all four pieces of bread, buttered side down into the skillet.
  4. Lay, or spread, mozzarella on all pieces of bread.
  5. Cover with a lid to keep the heat in and melt the cheese.
  6. Once the cheese is melted, lay the basil and sliced tomatoes on top of the cheese.
  7. If using vinegar, drizzle a tiny bit ( I use 1/2 tbsp) over top of the tomatoes now.
  8. Assemble the sandwiches by putting the tops on.
  9. Enjoy!

4 Sons 'R' Us: Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwich