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Toasted Gnocchi and Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Marinara

  • Author: Tessa
  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


There’s a secret ingredient in this sauce. Okay, maybe it’s not so secret, but what better way to eat your greens than in a rich, smoky, spicy pool of roasted red pepper marinara?


  • 3 medium red bell peppers
  • 1 1/2 T olive oil
  • 2 C chopped yellow onion (1 1/2 medium)
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed, chopped into 3” pieces, and washed
  • 1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 t fresh grated nutmeg (or 1/4 t ground)
  • 28 oz. can whole tomatoes
  • 2 T heavy cream
  • 4 oz. goat cheese (truffled, if available), crumbled (keep chilled until ready to use)
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1/3 C raw walnuts
  • 1 recipe homemade gnocchi, or enough pre-made for 4 servings (about 80 to 100 gnocchi)
  • 4 to 6 T butter


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, and roast in oven 8 to 10 minutes, stirring halfway through. Cool on a layer of paper towels or a cutting board. Roughly chop and reserve for garnish.
  2. With 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, use fingers to coat bell peppers in oil. Broil (low broil setting, if there is more than one) on a foil lined, rimmed baking sheet six inches from heat source, about 13 minutes, until blackened on top. Remove tray from oven and rotate peppers 90 degrees, broiling 5 minutes each on remaining 3 sides, until the peppers are charred and mostly blackened. Place peppers in glass or metal bowl, cover with a dish towel and dinner plate and leave alone for 15 minutes.
  3. Working on the baking sheet, use hands or small paring knife to remove charred skins from peppers, without rinsing. Remove stems and seeds. Reserve 1/4 of 1 pepper for garnish, and roughly chop remaining peppers. Reserve in bowl with juices from the baking sheet. Finely chop the pepper reserved for garnish and set aside.
  4. Heat remaining tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium until hot. Add onion and cook 5 to 8 minutes until soft and slightly brown. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook about a minute, stirring constantly. Add chopped roasted red pepper with juices and nutmeg, and cook another minute. Add tomatoes and increase heat to medium high. Roughly chop tomatoes in the pan with a wooden spoon. Bring sauce to a vigorous simmer, then simmer gently about 30 minutes, until reduced and thickened. Remove from heat and cool 5 minutes.
  5. Blend sauce with an immersion blender, or carefully in a blender. Return to pan over medium low heat. Add half the chopped chard and cover to steam, for 2 minutes. Stir into sauce until wilted, then repeat with remaining chard. Off of heat, stir in cream and half the goat cheese until melted and combined. Taste and season with salt and pepper, as needed (I didn’t use much seasoning given the rich flavor or the sauce). Keep sauce warm over low heat or by covering.
  6. To cook gnocchi, boil in batches, to avoid crowding the pot, in a pot of water for 90 seconds to 2 minutes, until just after a few gnocchi have floated to the top. Remove from water with a slotted spoon or spider strainer. To skip toasting the gnocchi, drop them into the pan of warm sauce. Otherwise, place boiled gnocchi in a bowl with a little olive oil.
  7. To toast gnocchi, melt 1 to 2 tablespoons butter at a time in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add as many gnocchi to the pan as will fit without crowding. Brown for a minute or two on each side, then remove to another bowl to keep warm until all gnocchi have been browned. Sprinkle with salt, then serve over bowls or plates of roasted red pepper marinara.
  8. Garnish either presentation with remaining crumbled goat cheese, reserved finely chopped roasted red pepper, and chopped, toasted walnuts.
  • Prep Time: 45 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 45 mins
  • Category: Pasta
  • Cuisine: Italian