Batch cooking is a great way to prepare for the week ahead and, now I’m cooking for 4 adults on a daily basis, I’ve also found it’s the quickest way to also ‘prepare’ lunch for the next day. This recipe is a real quick and easy treat which tastes like it has taken a lot more effort to prepare than it has!
I use my normal Bolognese recipe for this which can be found here (I’ve repeated it below so you don’t have to flick between). Whilst the sauce with spaghetti on its own only makes 4 portions, when served in this dish, the sauce stretches and makes 8 portions (hence four evening meals and four lunchs).
This means, to make a dish serving four, you only need half of the Bolognese sauce that you prepare. The rest can be frozen for another rainy day. Alternatively, if you want to make 8 portions, just double all the other ingredients (that aren’t the bolognaise sauce) and make a second batch full (for lunches).
Bolognese Baked Gnocchi
Serves 4 = 10sp per person
Half a pan of Bolognese sauce (see below)
500g pack potato gnocchi
1 x 150g ball of light mozzarella, roughly torn into small chunks (or 70g grated light mature cheddar)
2 tbsp parmesan, finely grated
Handful of basil, roughly chopped
For the Bolognese Sauce
500g Extra Lean Mince (5% fat)
1 vegetable or beef stock cube
2 onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 x pepper, deseeded and chopped
2 x carrots, peeled and chopped
2 x sticks of celery, washed and chopped
Pinch of crushed chillies (optional)
1 box of mushrooms chopped
Dash of Tobasco sauce
½ tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
Half a tablespoon of oregano
1 tsp dried basil and marjoram
2 heaped teaspoons of beef gravy granules
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
Grating of nutmeg
Sprinkle of sugar
2 bay leaves
Pre heat the oven to 180c. Fill and boil the kettle.
Begin by making the Bolognese. Pop your mince in large pan and begin to brown. Make up your stock (I used 1 beef stock cube and 1 tomato tin of water) and put a little in with the mince to stop it sticking to the pan. When half browned, add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic and once they are nice and soft add the pepper, mushrooms and chilli flakes. Then add your chopped tomatoes and most of your stock so it covers the mince. Add the rest of your ingredients and give a good stir. Season with salt and pepper and leave to simmer and thicken while you prepare the gnocchi.
Fill another large saucepan with boiling water and, once simmering, add a pinch of salt and the gnocchi. Cook according to the packet instructions (it should take 2-3 minutes to cook and will be ready when the gnocchi start floating to the surface of the water). Drain the gnocchi and add back to the now empty sauce pan. Add half of the pan of Bolgnese sauce to the gnocchi. Stir through so the gnocchi is well coated.
Take a large baking dish, spray with 1kal and then add the Bolognese covered gnocchi. Spread so it evenly covers the dish and then add the torn mozzarella (or grated cheese) and then the parmesan. Pop in the oven to bake for 20-25 minutes (until the top is oozy and golden).
Whilst the gnocchi is in the oven you can prepare a side salad if you fancy. I just combined mixed leaves, a peeled courgette, a few shards of parmesan and a splash of balsamic vinegar.
Once baked, remove from the oven and scatter over the bail. Leave to cool for 5-10 minutes so everything sets nicely.
Serve with green salad and enjoy!