Gluten-Free Baked Gnocchi with Oregano-Chive Pesto and Slow Roasted Tomatoes

I haven’t been to the store to buy groceries for a few weeks. Picking up fresh produce from La Nay Ferme has spoiled me. I’ve also been spending a lot of time in my little garden anticipating the days that are coming soon–the days when I’ll run outside, grab some zucchini and tomatoes and throw dinner together in a flash. Even my children look forward to those simple dinners.
This dinner isn’t quite so simple, but it whetted my appetite for summer.
The oregano in my garden is growing like a weed. I’m using it as quickly as I can, but there’s still more than I really know what to do with. I already started drying it earlier this Spring to get a leg up on the ample amounts that grow each year. Pesto was the only answer.
And because I was out of gluten-free pasta, I settled on gnocchi, which is kind of time consuming the first few times you make it. We had potatoes that needed to be used. Everyone likes gnocchi, so there we were.  (Be sure to check out this post for how to make gnocchi.)
I don’t know why I feel like I need to give these long histories of how a meal comes to be. I guess I think of dinner as a chapter in each day’s story, and I’m always interested in the evolution of a recipe.
I had tomatoes sitting on the counter. Basic grocery store tomatoes that looked decent. And they were not too bad. I let them sit for almost two weeks until they were really ripe and juicy. I feel like roasting is the only answer to making out-of-season, grocery store tomatoes worth eating. I slow roasted them to concentrate the juices and give them more punch. Man were they good. I enjoyed them for dinner…then second dinner…then lunch the next day. I couldn’t get enough.
I was out weeding a few days ago and found volunteer Roma tomato plants.  How do I know they’re Roma?  Let’s just say there are a few benefits of leaving your tomato plants in the ground all winter….one being that I don’t have to rush over to the garden center this weekend to buy seedlings.
Don’t these look fab?
    

Can’t wait for homegrown tomatoes, but for now, these will do.

Gluten-Free Baked Gnocchi with Oregano-Chive Pesto and Slow Roasted Tomatoes
original recipe

Ingredients:

For slow roasted tomatoes:
8 large ripe tomatoes, sliced in half
salt and pepper
extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

For pesto:
1/3 cup almond, walnuts, or pine nuts
4 cups packed fresh oregano leaves
1/4 or more cup fresh chives, snipped into 1/4″ pieces
2-3 garlic cloves
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
about 1/3 cup water
about 1/2 tsp. salt or to taste
optional:  1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano, Pecorino Romano, or nutritional yeast

For gnocchi:
2 1/2 lbs. russet potatoes
1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour mix (or all-purpose flour)
1 large whole egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp. salt
water
1/4-1/2 cup toasted bread crumbs
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

Instructions:

For slow roasted tomatoes:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Place tomato halves, cut side up, in a shallow baking dish, such as a 9 by 13″ glass pan.  Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.  Roast tomatoes for about 20 minutes at 425 degrees F, and then lower the heat to 350 degrees F and continue cooking for an additional 90 minutes, or until tomatoes have decreased in volume, turned golden on top and started to release their juices.  Remove from oven and keep warm until ready to serve.  Return the oven to 425 degrees F for the baked gnocchi.

For pesto:
Place almonds in the bowl of a food processor.  Process until almonds are finely chopped.  Add the oregano, chives and garlic.  Continue processing until a thick paste starts to form.  Add the water and the oil through the feed hole with the motor running.  Stop and scrape down sides as necessary.  Add the salt and cheese or nutritional yeast, if using and continue processing until smooth.  Transfer to a bowl and press plastic wrap onto the surface.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

For gnocchi:
While tomatoes are roasting, place the unpeeled, whole potatoes in a large pot and cover with cool water.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until potatoes are easily pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, about 30 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes.

Drain the potatoes and let them sit in a the warm pan until cool enough to handle.  Peel the skins off and remove any dark spots from the potatoes.  Put the potatoes through a potato ricer set over a large bowl, or mash well in the bowl.  Let cool to room temperature.

Sprinkle the flour evenly over the potatoes and add the salt.  Gently mix with your hands, adding the eggs halfway through mixing.  Add water if necessary until you have a dough that holds together when formed into a ball.  Pinch off small balls of dough and run them along the tines of a fork to make the characteristic grooves.  (See this post for how-to instructions.)  Lay the gnocchi on a lightly floured baking sheet (or on waxed paper) until all gnocchi have been formed and are ready to be cooked.

Bring a large pot filled with salted water to a rolling boil.  Add the gnocchi, about 8-10 at a time, working in batches, and cook until the gnocchi float to the surface, about 4-6 minutes.  Taste one of the first batch to make sure it’s cooked through.  Transfer the cooked gnocchi to a large bowl.  Reserve some of the cooking water to thin the pesto.

When all of the gnocchi are cooked, add enough pesto (you might not need all of it) and a little cooking water to gently coat all of the gnocchi.  Transfer to a baking dish.

In a small dish, stir together the bread crumbs and 1 tsp. olive oil.  Sprinkle over the top of the gnocchi.  Bake at 425 degrees until hot and the bread crumbs are golden.

Serve warm with the roasted tomatoes on the side.

Note:  You can make the gnocchi ahead of time and freeze them.  Adjust cooking time by about 5 minutes or so.

Makes enough generous servings for 4-6 people.

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