Sometimes you just need something easy for dinner but you still want tasty. This is one of my cheat dishes that I use when I am in a rush and am trying to avoid frozen freezer meals. It is a cheat meal because I buy the basic pasta sauce. I am not a huge fan of store bought pasta sauce – I find it is often lacking in any real taste and some of them have some very funky herb flavours (in a not so good way). But it does have its place in the world and this recipe is one of them. I take that not so exciting sauce and jazz it up a bit. In fairness to the sauce I used, this is one of the better ones and I do think it has a lot more flavour than most – and no funky herb thing going on.
Of course if you have the time, you can’t go past making your own marinara style sauce. When I have the time, I love this recipe for sugo from Gourmet Traveller. The meatballs served with it are also damn fantastic if you want to go the whole hog.
I have stolen the ideas for this recipe from my Mum. I normally use fusilli pasta with this sauce as the chorizo gets nicely caught in the twirls. This time I had the gnocchi I made for Our Growing Edge to test drive. To be honest the sauce is probably a bit chunky to go with gnocchi but it was delicious when heaped together on my spoon. Fine Cooking have written this article on which pasta goes best with which sauce, although poor gnocchi does not even rate a mention.
One thing I love about this dinner is its flexibility. What you add to the sauce depends on what you have lurking in your pantry. Below is my favourite combination but the anchovies and capers combined may make it a bit salty for some. The chorizo is the hero of this dish and as with most dishes, the quality of this key ingredient is what makes or breaks it. If you don’t get good chorizo it can end up tasting either bland or the chorizo gets lost in the anchovy and caper flavours. I have been buying fresh chorizo recently as that is what has been available in the stores and they are the ones you are ‘supposed’ to cook with but I prefer the cured sausages because they tend to pack a bit more of a spicy punch.
Preparation time for this recipe is only 5 minutes – just a bit of chopping and then it takes about 10 minutes for me to get the water boiling and the pasta cooked (allow another 5-10 minutes if you are using pasta other than gnocchi.) and while all that is happening I cook the pasta sauce. The sauce takes longer than the pasta in this case. You are sitting down and eating dinner in under 20 minutes. Because the chorizo tends to be enough for two people, I normally make 2 serves and the dish reheats fairly well the next day. There are about 45o calories in this recipe, depending particularly on the chorizo you use.
- 150g of chorizo, diced in to small pieces (about the size of your smallest fingernail)
- 125g gnocchi
- 1 cup of marinara sauce (or make your own sugo)
- 6-7 cherry tomatoes
- 1 tbs of anchovies, finely chopped
- 1/2 tbs of capers
- olive oil cooking spray
- 1 tbs of parmesan cheese, shredded
- Heat a skillet on medium-high heat and spray with the olive oil cooking spray.
- Once the skillet is hot, add the diced chorizo and cook until brown.
- Add the marinara sauce, tomatoes, anchovies and capers and heat until all the ingredients are warmed and the chorizo is completely cooked.
- While the skillet is warming up, put on a pot of salted water to boil and once the water is boiling put the gnocchi in the pot.
- When the gnocchi floats it is cooked.
- Drain the gnocchi, pop it in the skillet with the sauce and mix well.
- Put the gnocchi and sauce in a bowl and top with parmesan.