roasted garden tomatoes with crispy kale and gnocchi

I'm not going to mince words here. This meal made me a feel like a flipping culinary wizard. I took a bite and said "oh fuck ya". Out loud. Alone. In my house. I am currently in mourning that I didn't make any extra.

After realizing earlier in the day that it has been a while since I cooked, I really felt compelled to rectify this... and ideally without going to the grocery store. I have a garden loaded with kale and somewhat unripe tomatoes. It seems reasonable that I could make something happen here. Thankfully during some prior trip to Trader Joe's I felt it was necessary to buy gnocchi - so I had that too. And honestly, that's really it.

What makes this meal so amazing is all the texture and flavor combinations. There is absolutely nothing in this world like a slow roasted tomato. It's sweet and buttery smooth and yet salty - so everything pretty much. Then add the soft gnocchi but with just enough of a sear on them to be crispy. And then you have the kale... this is where an unexpected magic happened. Because of the way I cooked it, it got crispy - not sauteed. So it was essentially like kale chips for dinner. Oh, and I also added some diced pancetta because why not.

The only thing stopping me from making this meal again every night this week is that slow-roasted tomatoes are ... slow. I honestly didn't watch the time much on how long I kept them in the oven for. I do know that I got home from a hike at 5:43 pm... and I was hungry then. So I quickly grabbed some tomatoes from the yard, sliced them, cored them, sauced them up, and put them in the oven. Magnificent.

So here's how it goes.
  1. Preheat oven to 300.
  2. TOMATOES// Slice tomatoes in half and remove the juices and core. Lay them on the baking sheet and drizzle heavily-ish with olive oil. Sprinkle moderately with sugar and kosher salt. Put in the oven as long as you can handle it. I lasted probably an hour.
  3. GNOCCHI // Cook gnocchi as directed. For me this was tossing some gnocchi into a pot of boiling water for 3-4 minutes. They are done when they float to the top of the water. Easy peasy. 
  4. KALE // In a medium heat skillet, add some roughly chopped kale to the pan with some drizzles of olive oil. Optional? Add in some diced pancetta to crisp up. 
  5. Add the boiled gnocchi to the kale skillet with a bit of butter. At this point, everything is already cooked so you are just getting it to the textures you like. I let the skillet cook at a medium heat until my gnocchi were just slightly light brown. 
  6. PLATE & EAT // This is simple. Just put the kale and gnocchi on a plate and then add your roasted tomatoes. I drizzled the top with olive oil for good measure. 
Shopping List (for 1 person)
3 large leaves of Kale
3 small tomatoes 
1 cup of gnocchi
1/4 cup of diced pancetta
olive oil
sugar
kosher salt

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