Succulent, melt-in-your-mouth pork and soft pillows of delicious gnocchi nestled in a deep, rich, classic Italian tomato sauce.
I feel a bit like a stick-in-the-mud. For those of you who aren't familiar with this American slang, it's derived from "the imagery of someone whose feet are stuck in wet clay and is unable to progress". That would be me, this holiday season, with my dinner party menu. If you were invited to The Café for a meal anytime in the near future, this Slow Roasted Pork with Gnocchi would definitely be the star of the show.
Why? Answering that is super simple: it's make-ahead, unique, super delicious and makes a beautiful presentation! It's also easy to put together, if you've made a batch of the Slow Roasted Italian Pork that I shared on Monday. Plus, with classic Italian flavors, this dish is a favorite with everyone.
You'll find that this Slow Roasted Italian Pork with Gnocchi isn't hard to put together, but does require a bit of time (mostly hands off time). It's a great thing to make early in the day, in the evening before or on a stay-at-home-day, when you're busy with other things around the house. Expect the delicious aromas of an Italian trattoria to waft from your kitchen.
As I mentioned Monday, the Italian pork recipe makes a large batch, but you'll find it's a treasure to have stashed away. You can have a fantastic meal put together in minutes - just bring some water to a boil and cook the prepackaged gnocchi. That's about three minutes of cooking time, just till the gnocchi float to the top of the water. Drain the gnocchi, combine them with the delicious pork and top with lots of fresh mozzarella. Then, just before dinner, pop it in the oven till the pork's bubbly and the cheese melty. A scatter of fresh basil is the crowning glory and oohs and aahs will be exclaimed as it's presented at the table.
This is one case where I'm quite thrilled to be a "stick in the mud". Anyone want to join me? Trust me, you'll be the thrilled one, as will your family, friends, guests...
- 4-5 cups Slow Roasted Pork *
- 1 1-pound package prepackaged gnocchi**
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella the small balls or a large ball, torn into small pieces***
- freshly ground black pepper
- fresh basil leaves for garnish, if desired
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Oil a 2 quart baking dish lightly with olive oil.
Cook gnocchi according to package directions. Drain well and drizzle lightly with 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil. Toss or shake strainer to coat.
Combine pork mixture and gnocchi in a bowl. Stir gently to combine, then transfer mixture to the prepared baking dish. Top with torn fresh mozzarella and a generous shower of freshly ground black pepper.
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving. Top with small fresh basil leaves or coarsely chopped fresh basil (if leaves are large).
* You can customize this recipe according to your family/guest's preferences. If they are meatlovers, go with more of the pork.
** prepackaged gnocchi is available at most larger grocers or online. You'll find it in the pasta section or sometimes in the Italian section. I really like DeLallo gnocchialthough the Kroger brand is also delicious.
*** I use the small balls of mozzarella. I love the kind that comes in oil and herbs at Costco.