Alex Mackay’s Spinach, Crème Fraîche, Gnocchi, Parmesan & Pesto Bake


This creamy, cheesy tomato and basil gnocchi with an orange tang is an intensely flavoured pan. It’s comfy and cosy, but also elegant and a touch fruity.

500g gnocchi
125g creme fraiche, (half fat if you prefer)
60g cheddar, grated
5 tablespoons basil pesto
1/2 orange, grated zest and juiced
1/2 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
100-200g spinach
caster sugar
cayenne pepper

1 Preheat your grill to medium. Boil your kettle.
2 Start with the gnocchi. Get a large pot. Fill it with water from your kettle. Add salt, cover and bring to the boil. Add the gnocchi and boil it according to the instructions on the packet.
3 While the gnocchi boils, get a medium bowl. Add the crème fraîche, Cheddar and pesto. Stir them together. Season to taste with salt and cayenne. Put the bowl next to your cooker.
4 Drain the gnocchi into a colander. Add the orange zest and juice to the empty pan. Bring to the boil and boil for 1 minute until it is thick and sticky, almost dry. Add the tinned tomatoes. Bring back to the boil and boil for 2 minutes until there is almost no liquid left; if you pull your spoon through the mixture, the channel you make should remain.
5 Add the gnocchi and spinach to the pan. Stir for 30 seconds until the spinach just starts to wilt. Stir in two-thirds of the crème fraîche, Cheddar and pesto mixture.
6 Season to taste with salt, cayenne and sugar. Spoon the gnocchi into an ovenproof dish. Spread the final third of the crème fraîche, Cheddar and pesto mixture over the top.
7 Grill for 3–6 minutes until the top is pale gold over the green pesto cream. (Grills vary enormously, so start checking after 3 minutes and keep checking until your bake is golden.) Serve from the pan.

Recipe courtesy of Alex Mackay from Everybody, Everyday.

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