One-Pan Eggplant Parm Gnocchi

published Jul 23, 2023
Pantry Pasta
One-Pan Eggplant Parm Gnocchi Recipe

Pan-fried gnocchi joins tender eggplant, melty mozzarella, and marinara in this saucy skillet dinner

Serves6

Prep15 minutes

Cook20 minutes to 25 minutes

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cast iron skillet, tomato sauce, gnocchi, cheese, herbs, wooden spoon
Credit: Kelli Foster

Pantry Pasta is Sheela Prakash‘s monthly column of easy, accessible pasta recipes. You’ll discover a new, inspired recipe each month that takes advantage of grocery staples and highlights one pantry hero. Follow along and grab all the recipes here.

Classic Italian eggplant Parmesan is one of my favorite ways to celebrate the late-summer vegetable. Yet I have no interest in frying slice after slice in the heat and humidity, so I always wait until September. 

In the meantime, this skillet dinner satisfies my need for the blissful combination of silky eggplant, red sauce, and melty mozzarella. The fact that it all comes together in a single pan is the only reason I need to make it again and again and again.

Pan-fried gnocchi joins forces with all three to provide extra sustenance and ensure it’s a hearty meal that needs nothing more than a simple green salad on the side. A shower of Parmesan breadcrumbs and a stint under the broiler provides crunch, while torn basil lends brightness. 

Credit: Kelli Foster

Pan-Fried Gnocchi Is the Ultimate Easy Dinner Move

Store-bought gnocchi is a great convenience that, in my opinion, pales in comparison to those made from scratch. They never boil up to be fluffy little pillows like the handmade stuff so I’ve learned to take other routes, like roasting or pan-frying store-bought gnocchi, which I do exclusively. 

Not only does it use fewer dishes (no need to boil a pot of water!), but you also get gnocchi that’s something quite different than pillows but wonderful in its own right — golden-brown and toasty on the outside, and tender on the inside.

That contrast of flavor and texture makes whatever fresh, shelf-stable, or frozen potato gnocchi you pick up from the grocery store that much better. 

One-Pan Eggplant Parm Gnocchi Recipe

Pan-fried gnocchi joins tender eggplant, melty mozzarella, and marinara in this saucy skillet dinner

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 20 minutes to 25 minutes

Serves 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1

    medium globe eggplant (about 1 pound)

  • 3 cloves

    garlic

  • 1

    (8-ounce) ball fresh mozzarella cheese

  • 1 ounce

    Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup firmly packed freshly grated or 1/3 cup store-bought grated)

  • 1/2 cup

    fresh or panko breadcrumbs

  • 6 tablespoons

    olive oil, divided

  • 1 teaspoon

    plus 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • 2

    (16- to 18-ounce) packages fresh, shelf-stable, or frozen potato gnocchi (do not thaw), divided

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    red pepper flakes

  • 1

    (about 24-ounce) jar marinara sauce (about 3 cups), such as Rao's

  • Fresh basil leaves, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cut 1 medium eggplant into 1/2-inch cubes (about 5 cups). Mince 3 garlic cloves. Drain 1 (8-ounce) ball fresh mozzarella cheese, if needed, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 cups).

  2. Finely grate 1 ounce Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 packed cup) or measure out 1/3 cup store-bought grated into a small bowl. Add 1/2 cup fresh or panko breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and 1/8 teaspoon of the kosher salt. Stir with a fork to combine.

  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a 12-inch cast iron or other large broiler-safe, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Break up 1 package of the potato gnocchi into individual gnocchi and add to the skillet in a single layer. Cover (​​a baking sheet or the lid of a Dutch oven works well) and cook undisturbed until the bottoms are golden-brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

  4. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and spread out in a single layer. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the pan and repeat cooking the remaining package of gnocchi and transferring to the baking sheet. Meanwhile, arrange a rack 6 to 8 inches below the broiling element and set the oven to broil.

  5. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in the now-empty pan until shimmering. Add the eggplant, season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned in spots and tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  6. Carefully pour in 1 (about 24-ounce) jar marinara sauce. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the gnocchi and stir to combine. Add half the mozzarella and stir to combine. Spread the mixture out into an even layer. Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella and breadcrumb mixture.

  7. Transfer the pan to the oven and broil until the cheese is melted and the breadcrumbs are golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Garnish with torn fresh basil leaves if desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.