Crispy Gnocchi With Burst Tomatoes and Mozzarella
The crispy gnocchi have a wonderful flavor - and you can dump them in the pan straight from the freezer!
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
2 (12- to 18-ounce) packages shelf-stable or refrigerated potato gnocchi
¼ cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
¼ teaspoon red-pepper flakes, plus more for serving
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 pints small tomatoes, such as cherry, grape or Sungold
¼ cup thinly sliced or torn basil leaves (optional), plus more for serving
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut or torn into 1/2-inch pieces
In a large (12-inch) skillet on the stovetop, heat enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan (about 1 tablespoon) over medium-high. Add half the gnocchi to the pan, breaking up any that are stuck together. Cover with a lid or baking sheet and cook, undisturbed, until golden brown on one side, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Repeat with the remaining gnocchi and olive oil.
Add the butter to the skillet and cook over medium-high, stirring often, until golden-brown and toasty, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the garlic, red-pepper flakes, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and a few grinds of pepper, reducing the heat slightly if necessary to avoid scorching.
Add the tomatoes and 3 tablespoons water and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the tomatoes have softened and the liquid has slightly thickened, 4 to 6 minutes. Smash the tomatoes as they burst to help them along.
Add the seared gnocchi and 1/4 cup basil (if using), stir to coat, then shake into an even layer. Top with the mozzarella.
Heat the broiler with a rack about 6 inches from the heat source.
Broil until the cheese is melted and browned in spots, 2 to 4 minutes. Top with more basil, red-pepper flakes and black pepper as desired.