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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