Pillowy soft potato gnocchi layered with hearty bolognese sauce and a creamy mixture of ricotta, mascarpone, parmesan, and mozzarella cheeses. This melty, bubbling baked gnocchi is quintessential comfort food thats equally delicious the next day!
If you love Italian baked pastas like ziti, lasagna and stuffed shells, then you’re going to love Gnocchi al Forno! After weeks of testing and tweaking this recipe has quickly found itself in our dinner rotation.
Ingredients You’ll Need
Here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe: store-bought potato gnocchi, ground beef or Italian sausage, onion, garlic, tomato paste, canned crushed tomatoes, mascarpone cheese or cream cheese, whole milk ricotta, parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
Feeling ambitious? Try making your own gnocchi from scratch with this recipe!
Recipe Step by Step:
Step 1. Make the Sauce
This sauce is like a quick bolognese with onion, garlic, ground beef and tomatoes. Alternatively, you could use ground chicken, turkey or Italian sausage instead of beef.
Step 3. Make the Ricotta
The center of this baked gnocchi is a layer of creamy ricotta cheese, mascarpone (or cream cheese), grated parmesan and mozzarella. Whisk all four cheeses together and season with salt and pepper.
Step 3. Layer and Bake!
Layer the gnocchi, bolognese and ricotta mixture into a 9X13 baking dish. Bake, uncovered, until piping hot a bubbling!
FAQs and Expert Tips
Yes! Just be sure to follow the cooking instructions on the package before adding it to the sauce.
Yes! Cool, then freeze in airtight container for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in fridge then reheat in microwave until steamy, stir well.
Absolutely! You can use a vegan meat substitute or plant-based sausage in this recipe.
What to Serve with Gnocchi al Forno:
A good crusty Italian baguette and a simple salad would be perfect to serve alongside this recipe. Check out some of my favorite salads and sides below:
I love to hear from readers and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. If you make this recipe be sure to leave a comment and/or give it a rating! Don’t forget to follow along on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram for all the latest updates!
Four Cheese Gnocchi al Forno
- 2 lbs potato gnocchi store bought
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 small yellow onion finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic grated
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes optional
- 1 c whole milk ricotta cheese
- 4 oz mascarpone or cream cheese room temperature
- ½ c grated parmesan cheese plus more for serving
- 1 heaping cup grated mozzarella divided
- Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add the ground beef, onion, garlic, and pepper flakes, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes.
- Next, stir the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes, then pour in the canned tomatoes and a pinch of salt. Bring the mixture to a simmer then cover and cook on low for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- In a small bowl stir together the ricotta, mascarpone or cream cheese, grated parmesan, and ½ cup of grated mozzarella, season with salt and pepper; set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook the gnocchi according to the instructions on the package. Drain and set aside.
- Ladle about half of the sauce into the bottom of a 9X13 oven-safe baking dish, and spread into an even layer. Cover the sauce with half of the gnocchi, followed by the ricotta mixture spread in an even layer. Top with the remaining gnocchi in an even layer followed by the rest of the sauce. Sprinkle the surface evenly with the remaining mozzarella.
- Place the baking dish on top of a sheet tray then transfer to the oven and bake uncovered until the edges are bubbling and the cheese is completely melted and browned in spots, about 45 minutes. Serve immediately!
- Gnocchi: Quite a lot of store-bought gnocchi is sold in 17.5oz packs, just a little over one pound. If thats all you can find just use two of these packs, no need to weigh or measure exactly.
- Ground Beef: Ground pork, chicken or even a vegetarian sausage would also work just fine.
- Mascarpone: Cream cheese is a perfect 1-2 substitute for mascarpone. It’s much cheaper too!
- Leftover gnocchi can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat over low heat in a saucepan or in the microwave. Add a few tablespoons of water to loosen up the sauce as needed.
- Freezing Instructions: Cool, then freeze in airtight container for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in fridge then reheat in microwave until steamy, stir well.
Special Equipment: 9X13 Baking Dish | Enamel Dutch Oven | Shop all Kitchen Essentials