September 6, 2012

Ricotta Gnocchi with Eggplant Tomato Mozzarella Sauce {Naptime Everyday}

Ricotta Gnocchi with Eggplant Tomato & Mozzarella via The Naptime Chef

What’s Going on Today: First school night of the year!

Naptime Goals: Roast Eggplant, prepare zucchini applesauce bread for snack.

Tonight’s Menu: Homemade Ricotta Gnocchi with Eggplant, Tomato & Mozzarella Sauce, Vegetables with Hummus, Tea (for Mom), beer (for Dad)

We always seem to celebrate a new school year with eggplant. With the season in full swing I’ve been cooking up some of our favorites lately and dreaming of new eggplant recipes in my sleep. (Next on the list is Phoebe’s Grilled Eggplant Baba Ganoush – holy yum!) For this year’s first school night meal I decide to riff on a favorite baked eggplant and gnocchi recipe that is in my book, and is entirely make-ahead, and pair our favorite homemade ricotta gnocchi with a simple eggplant pan sauce.

While my daughter was taking one last summer nap before school I roasted the eggplant which, I believe, is just about the easiest make-ahead step in the world. It can be roasted up to a day in advance in kept in the fridge if you are really in need of a time saving step! At dinner time I simply added the eggplant to a batch of my homemade marinara sauce from the pantry, threw in some cubed fresh mozzarella, and heated it through for a few minutes. While it was simmering away I made the gnocchi and boiled it until perfectly cooked (a ten minute process from start to finish) and dinner was served!

My daughter’s request for a vegetable side dish was a simple crudite platter of her favorite veggies and we added in some hummus for dipping. It seemed a little funny to pair with her pasta but I really don’t mind as long as she is willingly crunching away.


Ricotta Gnocchi with Eggplant, Tomato & Mozzarella


1 batch homemade ricotta gnocchi
1 large eggplant
½ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups marinara sauce of your choice (store-bought is fine)
½ cup fresh mozzarella, cubed


1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.

2. Cube the eggplant and toss it with the olive oil until evenly coated and spread them evenly on the lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the tops with the salt. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes. Then quickly remove the pan from the oven and push the eggplant around with a wooden spoon so the cubes turn over. Then return the pan to the oven and roast for another 20 minutes or until the eggplant is lightly browned and collapsed. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. *Can be done up to a day ahead and stored in the fridge.

3. Add the marinara sauce and roasted eggplant to a saucepan and warm over medium-low heat. You want the sauce to get heated through but not boil or bubble.

4. While the sauce is warming, make the ricotta gnocchi according to directions and divide the cooked dumplings evenly amongst three or four bowls. Then add the cubed mozzarella to the sauce and stir for one minute so it gets tender but doesn’t melt. Stir the sauce into the gnocchi and serve!

Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

While we served this with veggies and dip a deep green salad on the side would be delicious. This recipe works well with potato gnocchi as well.

Naptime Stopwatch

20 minutes prep time (for gnocchi and eggplant), 50 minutes cook time (including eggplant roasting)

Naptime Reviews

This warm bowl of comfort is a delicious dish for anyone looking for a new, fun way to serve eggplant this season!



More Naptime Recipes