quick and easy: creamy tomato gnocchi


I don’t remember who originally sent me this recipe from BBC Good Food, but we love it and it’s so easy! The ingredients are mostly pantry staples, so we keep everything ready to go and it saves the day when no one wants to go to the store or spend more than 20 minutes cooking.

Even though we live in Japan, we don’t cook much traditional Japanese food. It’s probably a little easier to manage this in Tokyo than out in the countryside, but I can usually adapt recipes from overseas to make them work for my local supermarket. One of the things I love about this recipe is the flexibility – you can use pasta instead of gnocchi, replace the baby spinach with a different green (or leave it out in a pinch), and a friend says she sometimes uses cream cheese when she can’t find mascarpone in the shops.

I get the tomato, mascarpone and garlic from my local supermarket; the gnocchi is from Kaldi; and we get the bacon, baby spinach and parmesan from Costco.

Aside from being delicious, I love that the meal requires almost no prep. The little bits of chopping required can done while other ingredients are on the stove. We usually chop up a bit of bacon, crisp it up and reserve it for later, then add the olive oil and garlic to the hot pan. From there, the the tomatoes simmer while the water comes to a boil. If I don’t have fresh basil to use at the end, I use any dried herbs around this time. The gnocchi only need a few minutes to soften, so I stir the mascarpone into the tomato sauce at the same time and add the chopped spinach to soften for the last few minutes. Finally the drained gnocchi and crispy bacon get stirred into the creamy sauce, sprinkled with parmesan and gobbled up!

What are your favorite pantry meals or weekday go-to dinners?