The next time you're craving a rich and comforting meal, make this jalapeño popper gnocchi casserole. It features potato gnocchi, chunks of bacon, and diced jalapeños swimming in a cream-based sauce. The result is a cross between deconstructed jalapeño poppers and baked macaroni and cheese ... but with pillowy soft gnocchi. Yum.
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Now, when we say this recipe is rich, we mean rich. The sauce is not only made of milk and shredded cheese, but cream cheese as well. This combo creates a thick, hearty sauce that will seriously hit the spot.
If you don't eat meat, feel free to skip the bacon to give this casserole a vegetarian spin. Or, add plant-based bacon! Read on for the full recipe.
How to Make Jalapeño Popper Gnocchi Casserole
Things You'll Need
16 to 18 ounces gnocchi, cooked
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup milk
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/4 cups Monterey Jack cheddar cheese, shredded
4 jalapeño peppers
6 strips pork or turkey bacon, cooked and chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Dash of paprika
1/4 cup panko or plain breadcrumbs
Grease a 9-by-9-inch square casserole dish and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large skillet over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the onions and cook for five to seven minutes. Next, add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
Add the flour and toss to coat the onions. Cook for about one minute until the mixture thickens.
Add the milk and broth, then stir well to combine. Scoop the cream cheese into the mixture, adding it in chunks. Cook for about five to seven minutes, stirring frequently, until the cream cheese is melted.
Add half of each cheese, plus the spices. Stir and simmer for five to seven minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.
While the sauce is simmering, slice one jalapeño into coins and set aside. Dice the remaining three jalapeños into small cubes.
If possible, wear gloves and avoid touching your face or eyes while cutting jalapeños. The juices will sting! Also, if you prefer a milder casserole, remove some or all of the jalapeño seeds. If you want more heat, leave the seeds.
Remove the sauce from the heat. Fold in the diced jalapeños and three-quarters of the chopped bacon.
Fold in the cooked gnocchi.
Transfer the mixture to the greased dish.
Melt the remaining two tablespoons of butter in the microwave or on the stovetop. Add to the breadcrumbs and toss.
Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top of the casserole. Bake for 15 minutes, then top with the remaining cheese, chopped bacon, and jalapeño slices.
Bake for another 10 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and the breadcrumbs are golden brown.