In case your New Year’s resolution was to cook more or eat more pasta, I’ve got you covered. I know that most resolutions revolve around what not to eat, but who says we can’t take our advice from Sophia Loren? More pasta! More wine! More cooking! I’m a little late to the sheet pan dinner craze, but now that I have tasted the delicious simplicity, I can’t go back to complicated weeknight dinners.
What is a sheet pan meal, you ask? Well, a sheet tray (a baking sheet) is a necessary tool. Actually, I use two for this recipe. Essentially whatever vegetables and proteins you enjoy and uncooked packaged potato gnocchi. I first tasted this meal at my best friend’s house and her combination was: chicken thighs, red onion, Brussels sprouts, gnocchi, olive oil and dried oregano. Never in my life had I considered cooking gnocchi in the oven, but they emerge from the oven fully cooked, a little caramelized and full of flavor from the surrounding ingredients. It was fantastic, and I immediately thought of ways to personalize my own. My favorite easy meal is pasta with roasted tomatoes, so I merged the recipes here for you today. In a large bowl, toss together one sliced yellow onion, two pounds of uncooked potato gnocchi, two whole pounds of cherry tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper. No need to cut the tomatoes. Get two sheet trays and divide the ingredients between the two pans. You definitely always want to avoid crowding the sheet trays whenever you are roasting vegetables. No one wants steamed vegetables when going for supremely caramelized roasted vegetables. Simply arrange them on the trays and roast at 425 degrees for 30-35 minutes. You may need to stir with a wooden spoon halfway through to ensure that none of the ingredients is burning or sticking. This recipe serves 6-8 people but can very easily be halved. After removing from the oven, you can add grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil. For a vegan or dairy free option, adding a drizzle of nice balsamic vinegar adds extra flavor in lieu of Parmesan.
What other possibilities are there in the sheet pan realm? As mentioned before, the chicken thigh with roasted Brussels sprouts is another winning combination. Roasted broccolini with gnocchi is fantastic when finished with lemon juice, pine nuts, fresh basil and Parmesan. Leaving the gnocchi behind and going for a fajita sheet pan meal is also a great version. Simply roast your protein of choice with bell peppers, onions and a spice blend of ground cumin, coriander, chili powder, oil and salt and pepper. Serve with flour tortillas and your favorite fajita accompaniments.
Sheet Pan Roasted Tomato Gnocchi (serves 6-8)
1 golden sweet onion (sliced)
2 pounds packaged uncooked potato gnocchi (I like Trader Joe’s brand)
2 pounds cherry or grape tomatoes (do not slice – leave whole)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Fresh basil (torn or sliced) for serving after cooking
Grated Parmesan cheese for serving
- Heat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large bowl, toss together oil, salt, pepper, tomatoes, sliced onion, and uncooked gnocchi.
- Between two sheet trays, divide the ingredients evenly so that they will roast. With sheet pan meals, you never want to cram everything onto one sheet tray because the ingredients will not properly caramelize. They will be steamed and flavorless, and you will be quite sad.
- Roast for 30-35 minutes, give everything a stir with a wooden spoon halfway through to scrape any bits that may be sticking.
- Remove, serve on a platter with fresh basil and grated Parmesan cheese. For a vegan, dairy-free option, you can drizzle with balsamic vinegar instead of the cheese.