2 Kinds Of Cheese Give Gnocchi Bake An Extra Touch Of Creaminess

A typical well-rounded meal, as long established in American culinary tradition, often involves two types of sides: vegetables and starches. With this creamy gnocchi bake, however, you can cook them together in the same pan. In fact, gnocchi is kind of two starches in one as it's a type of pasta that's usually made from potatoes. Its blandness is offset in this bake by slightly bitter spinach and savory mushrooms — plus some bacon and two types of cheese.

The cheeses you'll need to make this creamy casserole are mild mozzarella, which is known as a good melter, and cheddar, which is more flavorful, if less melty. Cheddar could be considered bacon's best friend since the two go together even better than peanut butter and jelly. Recipe developer Catherine Brookes considers this cheesy casserole to be "the perfect comfort food and full of flavor," although she suggests making it on a night when you don't mind spending a little extra time on meal preparation.

This cheesy casserole can also double as a main course

If you stretch your imagination a little, you could consider this creamy gnocchi bake a type of fancied-up macaroni and cheese, one with gnocchi in place of noodles and both vegetable and meaty mix-ins. Just like macaroni and cheese, it can do double duty as a side dish or an entree. If you're serving the gnocchi casserole as a side, it would be best paired with something plain such as baked chicken or pork chops. Why? Because the casserole has so many contrasting flavors going on that it might clash with a more complex meal.

Thanks to bacon in this pasta dish, though, and even more to the double helping of cheese, it may have sufficient protein to be considered a light main course. Should you serve it as such, Catherine Brookes suggests that either salad or bread (or both, for preference) would make good side dishes. One thing to note about this casserole, however, is that it's not really suitable for meal prepping since Brookes admits that the leftovers will only last for two days in the refrigerator.