Baked gnocchi with bacon, tomato and mozzarella

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Baked gnocchi with bacon, tomatoes and mozzarella

This is comfort food. Comfort food for those who need comforting. And yesterday, I needed it (more than I normally do). You see, yesterday was not only the beginning of the 3rd school term here in SA, but also the day we had to start with Atropine drops on my darling princess. I’m not going to go into what Atropine is (you can read more here, if you so wish) but we are doing it because she has a pretty important appointment at an Optometrist this Thursday. We found out a couple of weeks ago that her eyes are slightly squint (so slightly that we’ve never even noticed) but now there are talks of glasses and surgery and even though this isn’t, by far, the worst thing that could happen, I feel sad. I think as a mom, all you want is for your kids to be perfectly healthy and happy. Again, this isn’t even that big of a deal (and I can’t imagine what it must be like to hear your child is terribly ill, etc). {Our beautiful Abi has been for two eye operations now after the glasses made no difference. Her eyes are perfect and the doctor is very happy. This post was originally written when I was feeling very sorry for myself and so, I’ve edited it slightly because I never want her to read this one day thinking I felt she disappointed me (which one reader pointed out) because nothing she could ever do would disappoint me. She is wonderful, smart and perfect in every way.}

Baked gnocchi with bacon, tomatoes and mozzarella

Anyway, so yes, yesterday I needed comfort food. And since I also didn’t feel like spending hours in the kitchen, I knew I wanted to use a few packets of ready-made gnocchi. This isn’t something I use a lot because I really love making fresh gnocchi but it definitely is a life-saver when you’re pressed for time. I also think it works really well in a baked gnocchi dish because it’s quite a lot firmer than home-made gnocchi so the shape is retained while, I think, home-made gnocchi will just get mushy.

Baked gnocchi with bacon, tomatoes and mozzarella

The sauce is made by frying bacon and then adding both tinned and halved cherry tomatoes and a splash of cream (you could also use yoghurt). The cooked gnocchi is mixed into this and then baked under a blanket of fresh, creamy fior di latte.  Perfect, easy comfort food ready in a flash.

Baked gnocchi with bacon, tomatoes and mozzarella


Baked gnocchi with bacon, tomato and mozzarella
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dinner, Pasta, Gnocchi, Comfort food
Serves: 2-3
  • 500g store-bought gnocchi
  • 250g bacon, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • handful cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons cream/yoghurt
  • large handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 100g mozzarella, sliced
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°c.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.
  3. In the meantime, make the sauce.
  4. In a large, hot frying pan, fry the bacon until starting to crisp with most of the fat rendered.
  5. Pour off most of the fat then add the garlic and smoked paprika and fry for 30 seconds.
  6. Add all of the tomatoes and the sugar and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cream/yoghurt, parsley and seasoning.
  8. Cook the gnocchi in the salted water until it starts floating to the top. Remove with a slotted spoon and add to the sauce.
  9. Transfer the gnocchi and sauce to an oven-proof dish and top with the sliced mozzarella.
  10. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes until the mozzarella is melted and golden.
  11. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Alida Ryder
Alida Ryder
Being a general food freak has proven to be quite helpful in this career I've found myself in. Author of two cookbooks, photographer, food stylist. Mom to twins. Ex make-up and hair artist obsessed with beautiful clothes and spaces. I love a good G&T and I've been known to spend too much money on shoes.
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  • Gill

    That looks delicious, I will definitely be trying it. On the glasses front, try not to worry too much (easier said than done!) My “princess” had to get glasses when she was in Grade 3 – I was a wreck, she handled it beautifully. Miraculously enough she has never been teased and loves her glasses, although she does occasionally opt for contacts now that she is 18 years old. You get really lovely “trendy” glasses for young girls now, I think that makes all the difference!

    • Alida Ryder

      Gill, thanks! That makes me feel a lot better. It’s between glasses or surgery and we’ll find out which on Thursday.

      • Carien

        My middle son has been wearing glasses for 8 years now (since he was 2). Had to wear patch on one eye as well to exercise the eye and brain. Not easy process, but it depends on parents attitude. Never gets teased but a little self conscious still. best of luck!

  • Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie

    Not only does this sound amazing, it looks it!

    • Alida Ryder

      Thanks Erin!

  • Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious

    This is my kind of comfort food! I don’t even care that it’s 100 degrees outside. I want to stuff my face with this!

    • Alida Ryder

      Definitely face-stuffing kind of food. ;)

  • Annette

    Hallo Alida,

    Ek sien jy gebruik Fior di latte mozarella kaas. Waar koop jy dit?
    Hier in die Oos-Rand sukkel ek by ons plaaslike Woolworths om dit in die hande te kry.

    Dankie vir ‘n heerlike resep en sterkte met jou dogtertjie.

    • Alida Ryder

      Annette, jy kan hulle Bocconcini ook probeer en as jy regtig nie reg kom nie, gebruik sommer hulle gewone mozzarella. Natuurlik is die buffalo/fior di latte lekkerder maar gewone mozz sal ook werk!

      Baie dankie! x

  • Nicole Da Rocha

    I’m going to be making this for the first time this weekend for all our friends! YUM!!

    • Alida Ryder

      I hope you enjoy it!

  • Lokness @ The Missing Lokness

    I am not a huge fan of gnocchi, but this looks incredible! Bacon and mozzarella! Nothing can go wrong with those ingredients!

    • Alida Ryder

      You’re right. When has anything with bacon ever been bad? ;)

  • wendee

    try homemade sweet potato gnocchi

    • Alida Ryder

      I often make gnocchi with butternut, pumpkin and sweet potato. Just love it.

      • Alisa

        What kind of dish did you use to bake it? size?

        • Alida Ryder

          I used an oven-proof ceramic dish of around 20x20cm.

  • Sonet

    Food looks so yummy!! My daughter is turning 26 this year, she was born with a squint. It was corrected surgically. It was very traumatic for me, more so that for her I think (she was 2 at the time). Technology has come so far since then. Your child will be all fixed and beautiful. And glasses, these days its all the rage, if she needs them, get a really funky pair. Good luck. Be strong. I look at my beautiful daughter (and she really is beautiful), a doctor now, and can barely remember her with a squint.

    • Alida Ryder

      Thanks Sonet. :)

  • Sandi

    I made this for dinner last night- AMAZING! So delicious and definitely perfect comfort food. Hope everything went as well as it could with your daughter’s optometrist appointment.

    • Alida Ryder

      Glad you liked it!

  • CTanner

    This looks wonderful, I’m going to try it today! As a side note to your story about your daughter…I worked for a pediatric ophthalmologist for 17 years. We used Atropine for the treatment of amblyopia, is that what she was diagnosed with? And as far as surgery goes, not sure what the surgery is for, just make sure you are going to a pediatric ophthalmologist. An optometrist can’t perform surgery. There are optometrists that are successful in the treatment of amblyopia, if that’s what she has, however an ophthalmologist is probably who she should be with. And one more thing, as far as the glasses go….they have so many different selections for frames that are awesome! Colors, shapes, designers, etc…. She may just be the hit of her class! It’s all good!!

    • Alida Ryder

      She is actually at an Opthalmologist. And I can never remember what she was diagnosed with. But it’s at least not serious, at all, and they’re trying the glasses for now which seem to be working. :)

  • Katelyn Williams

    Oh my goodness that looks incredible! I think my waistline just exploded by looking at that gooey, bubbly cheese topping – which means it’s my favourite kind of recipe :)

    • Alida Ryder

      K, this definitely is a ‘treat’ kind of meal but gosh, it really is very good.

  • Rachel

    Hi, I found this recipe on pinterest last week and I’ve just made this for our dinner … wow, I’ll definitely be making it again, thank you for sharing! My daughter was diagnosed with a lazy eye, slight squint and long sightedness about 18 months ago just after her third birthday. She’s had patches to wear and wears glasses (very cool frames) but she doesn’t let it stop her. She’s nearly 5 now and about to start school and she’s stunning with her long ginger hair and glasses!

    • Alida Ryder

      So glad you liked the gnocchi Rachel! Your daughter sounds gorgeous!

  • Mara Rutherford

    Made this for company last night and it was a big hit – super easy too! I just left out the bacon since we’re vegetarians. I will definitely be making this again :)

    • Alida Ryder

      So glad you liked it Mara!

  • Shelby

    Found your blog through Destination Delicious on Facebook and absolutely had to leave a comment on this post! This dish looks amazingly delicious! New fan here!

    • Alida Ryder

      Thanks so much for your comment Shelby. I hope you find lots of inspiration from Simply Delicious. :)

  • Pam

    I totally know how you feel about your child. I just had to take my seven month old to get an EEG :( luckily the results were fine. Anyway, I can definitely use comfort food and this looks like is sure will hit the spot. I think it’s a good dish for a castiron skillet.

    • Alida Ryder

      So glad your baby is fine! :) A cast iron skillet is a great idea !

  • M.

    My daughter is envious of her friends who wear glasses – she even got a fake pair that she wears sometimes! But I feel you. It’s always hard to hear that something is “wrong” with your child!

    • Alida Ryder

      Thanks for your lovely comment M.

  • Shannon

    Hi there! Can you help me convert this recipe without using the grams?? I’m not much of a cook but I would love to make this recipe tonight!!! Thanks!!

    • Alida Ryder

      Shannon, 500g gnocchi is approximately 2-3 cups but it usually comes in 500g packets. 250g bacon is around 1 cup, 400g tomatoes is a medium size tin and 100g mozzarella is around 1 cup as well. If you Google, you’re bound to find an online converter that might be able to give you more info.

    • Shannon

      Thank you so much!!! That was the fastest reply I’ve had! Can’t wait to try this!

      • Alida Ryder

        Only a pleasure! Hope you enjoy it. And don’t worry too much about precise measurements, unlike with baking, cooking is best when you taste and add to your own preference. :)

  • Joan Ryan

    Morning from Kildare , there is definitely a touch of Autumn in the air so this looks just about right for dinner tonight.
    I hope you and your daughter got over the drops , and I hope her eyes are fine. You are doing all the right things for her , not that that makes it easy of course….
    Joan (optometrist)

    • Alida Ryder

      Thanks so much Joan.

  • Marilyn Ray

    Do you drain the canned tomatoes? Or add the whole tin, juice and all??

    • Alida Ryder

      Juice and all! :)

  • Alida Ryder

    Yes, of course! Any pasta would work but the gnocchi is just that little bit more special. ;)

  • Lyudmila Devlysh

    Made it for dinner tonight. Used smoked bacon, sour cream and fresh basil. Difibetely making it again very soon! Make sure you have bread for the souce after :) thank you!

    • Alida Ryder

      So glad you liked it!

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  • Tiffany Kinney Munsell

    Could you please tell me what kind of cream you used?

    • Alida Ryder

      I use fresh cream. In the US I think it’s referred to as Heavy cream?

  • tracy

    I made this last night and my daughter declared it the best dinner ever!

    • Alida Ryder

      So glad she liked it! :)

  • Jessica Hapak

    Hi! I am a college student living in a dorm… so my only way for a home cooked meal is my crockpot! Do you think i could adapt this with canned tomatoes, bacon cooked in my microwave, and then throw it all in the crackpot with some cream?

    • Alida Ryder

      I think you should give it a go and see how it turns out! I would LOVE to know so please report back once you have. :)

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  • Alida Ryder

    Jessie, So glad you like the recipe!

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  • Alida

    Wow! This is an amazing dish and your photos are so professional! Just like if they came from a good magazine!!! Well done!

    • Alida Ryder

      Thank you so much!

    • Alida Ryder

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment.

  • Alida Ryder

    Thanks for your lovely comment Michele.

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  • Alida Ryder

    So glad you liked it Shawn!

  • Kat

    After tasting all the components, I thought that the dish was only going to be “meh”. Some short of magic happened in the oven! It came out so flavorful. This was my first time cooking with gnocchi and I deem it a success. Also, I used “Italian” tomatoes with the herbs which I think was a nice addition. Also grated some Parmesan before putting it in the oven. Another shortcut I used- I cooked my bacon in a cast iron skillet and combined everything in it, topped with cheese and into the oven, Less mess! Thanks for a quick recipe!

    • Alida Ryder

      I loved your comment Kat. And I’m so glad you liked the finished product! :)

  • Christine Bonham

    This looks A.MA.ZING! Can’t wait to make this – thank you!

  • Alida Ryder

    Oh yum! Glad you liked it.

  • Alida Ryder

    So glad you liked it!

  • Kristin

    Never made anything with gnocchi before, but this was delicious! One of the best things I’ve ever cooked! Thank you!

    • Alida Ryder

      Thanks for the lovely comment Kristin! And I’m so glad you liked this so much. It’s one of my favourites too.

  • Alida Ryder

    I would let the gnocchi dry out a little on a semolina covered tray.

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  • Jodie

    Wow! SO good! I used fire roasted tomatoes because it’s what I had on hand and cooked up some quartered criminis with the bacon since they needed to get used, but aside from those changes, stuck to the recipe. This is a new favorite! Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Alida Ryder

      Thanks for your comment Jodie. Glad you liked it.

  • Stevi

    I have made this about a million times since finding it on Pinterest. So easy to make, but really filling and delicious! Going to make this again now:) Thanks!

    • Alida Ryder

      So glad you like it so much. It’s one of my favs too!

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