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Gnocchi with Roasted Garlic-Tomato Sauce and Spinach

Posted Feb 06 2010 12:00am

When garlic cloves are roasted within their own shell, they slightly sweeten and take on an entirely new, intense flavor – not to mention a soft, creamy texture which easily melts into sauces such as this one. Combine that with delicately sweet shallots, roasted grape tomatoes, chewy gnocchi, fresh wilted greens, and salty Pecorino Romano cheese, and you have yourself a bowl full of comfort food worthy of a lazy indoor evening out of that harsh winter cold (which, with 20 inches of snow and counting, my friends living south of here could probably use).

Gnocchi with Roasted Garlic-Tomato Sauce and Spinach

1 pint grape tomatoes
3 medium shallots, cut into 8ths
4 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
1/2 tsp thyme
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 lb Gnocchi
1/4 cup water reserved from cooking gnocchi
4 cups loosely packed baby spinach
Pecorino Romano cheese

Preheat oven to 450.

In a medium bowl, toss together the cherry tomatoes, shallots, and whole, unpeeled garlic cloves with olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet, and roast in preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and drop in gnocchi, cooking according to package directions. Before draining, reserve 1/4 cup cooking water. Drain gnocchi, and return to pot.

When vegetables have finished roasting, peel garlic and mash with a fork. Add mashed garlic, the other roasted vegetables, and spinach to saucepan with gnocchi. Add the reserved cooking water, bring to a light simmer, and cook until sauce has reduced and spinach is wilted – about 3 minutes.

Serve in shallow bowls, topped with plenty of grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Serves 2

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