BAKED GNOCCHI AND POTATO CASSEROLE

BAKED GNOCCHI AND MASHED POTATO CASSEROLE

Fresh potato gnocchi wrapped in mashed potatoes with extra virgin olive oil, petite peas, Kalamata olives, sweet red roasted peppers and fresh garlic. A must try!

Serves 9-12

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

16 oz. pkg. vacuum packed fresh gnocchi pasta

1 c. froz. petite peas

3 T. softened margarine

3 T. extra virgin olive oil

3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

salt

7 Kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped

1 t. liquid smoke; I used apple flavored by Colgin

3-1/2 c. boiling water

1 t. salt

3 c. potato flakes (I used Idahoan brand with great results)

1 sweet red roasted pepper, diced, plus 3 T. liquid from jar

Cook Place gnocchi  and peas in boiling salted water. When gnocchi rises to the top, cook for 2 minutes, no longer. Drain gnocchi and peas immediately. Place in large bowl.

Add to the gnocchi and peas, the margarine, extra virgin olive oil and garlic. Stir till melted. Salt to taste.

Add Kalamata olives and liquid smoke. Stir to disperse and set aside.

Pour 3 c. boiling water into large bowl. Add 1 t. salt, then potato flakes all at once. Stir to thoroughly dissolve. Then if needed add the extra ½ c. of boiling water, a little at a time, to achieve desired mashed consistency.

Add roasted peppers plus 3 T. pepper liquid from jar. Stir to disperse evenly.

Add gnocchi and pea mixture to potatoes. Stir to evenly distribute potatoes throughout gnocchi. Spoon mixture loosely, but evenly, into an 8 x 8 inch casserole dish. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and serve.

Notes:  Serve as a main dish with a side salad or applesauce. Or serve on a buffet.

You can serve this potato dish immediately after assembling it, or bake it and then serve. Left over fry up nicely in the skillet the next day.

Gnocchi pasta is made with potato, so why not serve it in a potato dish? An intriguing and delicious combination. The extra virgin olive oil, apple smoke, fresh garlic and Kalamata olive work expertly in this combination potato dish to deliver a familiar yet unique flavor achievement of a mild cheese. The firm gnocchi in the soft mashed potatoes creates a partially melted cheese-like texture.

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