You Can Roast That?

Last week
, a new cookbook landed on my desk called Dinner’s in the Oven: Simple One-Pan Meals. The recipes are unfussy; the design is bright and approachable; it’s shot by David Loftus (one of my favorite photographers) and I loved it almost immediately. I love it for the underlying promise, of course — who doesn’t want to throw a bunch of things on a roasting pan, set the timer and have a glass of wine while dinner cooks? I love it for the “pantry” section which is organized by the elements you need in every dish (sharp, sweet, crunch, etc.) instead of the predictable old list of flours and alternative oils. But mostly I love it because I was consistently surprised by what the author, Rukmini Iyer, decided to place on a sheet pan. A few examples: Uncooked spelt goes right into a mix of chorizo, sweet potato, red onion, and chicken broth for a one-pan dinner (no dishes)…

…Uncooked quinoa
is tossed in with honey-roasted carrots and parsnips, something I’ll be making as soon as I can snag some good carrots at the farmer’s market…

…Avocado is roasted
right alongside chicken.

Lastly: Gnocchi! (Pictured up top.) As Iyer writes: “This baked, unashamedly carb-loaded version of an insalata caprese is one of the quickest and easiest dinners in this book. Crispy gnocchi is a revelation—like the best roast potatoes you’ve ever had, but faster.” The recipe is below so you can see for yourself.

Crispy Baked Gnocchi with Tomatoes, Basil, Mozzarella & Pine Nuts
Serves: 2 as a main (4 as a side/starter); Ac: 10 minutes; Total Time: 30 minutes 

1 pound potato gnocchi
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 pound vine-ripened tomatoes, cut into eighths
5 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into bite-size chunks
Leaves of 1 large bunch of fresh basil (I only used about a dozen)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup pine nuts

Preheat your oven to 425°F
Place the gnocchi in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to cook for 2 minutes, then drain well.
Add the cooked gnocchi to a roasting pan or large baking dish along with the olive oil and mix well to evenly coat. Tuck in the tomatoes, mozzarella, and half of the basil. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, then transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
Scatter the pine nuts over the gnocchi and bake for a further 5 minutes.
Tear the rest of the basil leaves, scatter them over the gnocchi, and serve immediately.

Check out
more exciting options in Dinner’s in the Oven: Simple One-Pan Meals, by Rukmini Iyer. Reprinted with permission from Chronicle Books, 2018. All photo credits: David Loftus.

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Are there enough vegetarian recipes (or ways to adapt the meat-ly entries) in this cookbook to make it worth it?


I would say about half of the recipes in this book are vegetarian or look like they can be adapted to be vegetarian.


Gnocchi is literally my son’s favorite food (it was his request last year for his last meal before camp, and his Hanukkah gift was dinner at Gnoccheria on the LES). This looks fantastic and I never would have thought to roast it! Unfortunately I have a tomato-hater in the house as well, but I’m thinking eggplant would be a good substitute here.


Yes please, sheet pan dinners are my favorite and I’m going to make this asap, as it has me longing for summer just looking. I can’t wait until tomato season is here.


I wanted to comment that i made this last night with simply the olive oil, salt, gnocchi, tomatoes (i used slightly more than called for) and the basil. I am vegan and skipped the mozz and as well do not love pine nuts after having an incident with them where everything tasted bitter for a week – ANYWAY, it turned out FANTASTIC. i served it with chicken sausages on the side (for my meat eating parents) and everyone raved about the main dish – the gnocchi. i will be making this possibly this weekend and MANY more times in the future! easy to veganize! Thanks for sharing!


The gnocchi I bought seemed a little soft before I poured the boiling water over it. Then it turned into paste!! I have never made gnocchi before, what did I do wrong? Do you buy gnocchi frozen? Should it be relatively firm before you pour the water over it? I’d be willing to try again, it looks so good!


Ugh – the same happened to me!! I don’t know if the recipe is for dried gnocchi or something, but the fresh ones I bought at Whole Foods turned into a tacky mush after the boiling water. I love the idea of this, so hoping to figure out a fix!


Do you think this would work with the cauliflower gnocchi that I picked up from the TJs freezer section?


Just made this for dinner. My husband said, “If I only had one meal left, I would choose this!” Morbid thought, but, yeah, it was that good. Thanks!


This is a great base recipe! I made it following the recipe once and it was good, then a second time with some modifications: added a chopped up onion, a bit more tomatoes, minced garlic, and a handful of chopped baby spinach, and rather than boiling the gnocchi I cooked it in a frying pan in some olive oil until crispy (a trick I picked up on another food blog), and it was perfection!