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Baked Gnocchi with Italian Sausage

Baked Gnocchi with Italian Sausage - Italian comfort food at its best!  Perfect for a weeknight dinner or a special meal!

Back a few months ago, my husband Jack and I went to New York City for our anniversary (we talked about that trip here). During that trip we visited Eataly – a popular Italian foods market – where (among other things) we bought some freshly made gnocchi to take home!

Once we arrived home from our trip, we decided to freeze the gnocchi because we had quite a few other wonderful Italian treats to eat – and then with the holidays upon us, we promptly forgot about that delicious gnocchi in the freezer!Baked Gnocchi with Italian Sausage - Italian comfort food at its best!  Perfect for a weeknight dinner or a special meal!

So we were thrilled to discover those packages of gnocchi a few weeks ago – and immediately made this delicious Baked Gnocchi with Italian Sausage that we’re sharing with you today.

This Baked Gnocchi with Italian Sausage is classic Italian comfort food at its best! We layered soft and tender cooked gnocchi in a baking dish with a mix of sautéed sweet Italian sausage, peppers, onions and garlic, and another layer of spinach mixed into ricotta cheese with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil added for even more wonderful flavor!

Baked Gnocchi with Italian Sausage - Italian comfort food at its best!  Perfect for a weeknight dinner or a special meal!

Bake until warm and bubbly – and dinner is served!

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Baked Gnocchi with Italian Sausage

Baked Gnocchi with Italian Sausage - A Family Feast
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup onion diced
  • 1½ cups bell pepper, diced (any bell pepper combination such as red, green, yellow or orange)
  • ¼ teaspoon hot pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 pound Italian sausage, out of casings
  • 2 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes with juice
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 pound gnocchi
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1½ cups whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ cup fresh Italian leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  1. Place a medium pot of salted water on to a boil and place a strainer into the water. Add spinach and after one minute, remove strainer and drain but leave water on heat. Squeeze spinach and place in medium bowl and set aside. There will be another step to cook gnocchi and at that point, you will bring the water back to a boil.
  2. In a large sauté pan, heat oil over medium high and add onion, peppers and pepper flakes. Cook until soft, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Move vegetables to outside edge of the pan and add sausage meat. Cook until browned. Add tomatoes and tomato paste and stir entire mixture and cook until thickened. Remove from heat.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  4. Return water to a boil and place gnocchi into water. As soon as they float, remove to a strainer and discard water. Add heavy cream and drained gnocchi back to pan and heat over medium until gnocchi absorbs the cream. Remove from heat.
  5. While gnocchi is cooking, in the medium bowl with the spinach, add ricotta, egg, parsley, salt, pepper, basil and ¾ cup of the Parmesan cheese. Mix to combine.
  6. In a 2 quart casserole dish, layer half the meat sauce, all of the ricotta mixture, all of the gnocchi, the second half of the sauce and the remaining Parmesan. Top with the mozzarella and bake for 30 minutes uncovered.
  7. Let set for ten minutes and serve.

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Comments

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  1. The two of you just make me so starving all the day! I turn into a raving, cheese lunatic when I read your blogs ~ all that bubbling cheese on top. This looks so delicious! You could not even order this from any restaurant, at least where I live. Which is why we do the same as you, visit all those yummy Italian eateries in NYC. But deep down, are you guys disappointed because your food probably tastes better?!?

    • Thanks Laura! And you’re right – sometimes we do have meals where we are disappointed but we’ve also been really inspired by other meals too! 🙂

  2. This is my kind of comfort food. And I love Eataly!!

  3. What a delicious, comforting dinner! My whole family would love this recipe!

  4. I would have been so excited to find that gnocchi in the freezer, too. What a wonderful comfort meal!

  5. You are absolutely right, this is certainly comfort food at it’s finest. All the gooey cheese and love that you added my favorite green spinach!

  6. Lovely recipe that’s making my tummy growl. I forget just how versatile gnocci is…and how well it freezes. 🙂

  7. How amazing does this look? i wish I had it for dinner!

  8. Oh this cheesy goodness is calling my name!!!

  9. Every time we go to Eataly, I want to take a shopping cart full of pasta products home! How fun that you brought back these gnocchi and a had a lovely surprise for you in the freezer!! Comfort food for these colder days!

  10. I made this last night and my husband thought he was in heaven. The only change I made was I substituted cottage cheese in place of ricotta. Thanks so much for another great recipe.

  11. Aaah. Discoveries like that are the best! And this looks absolutely amazing. 🙂

  12. Gorgeous! Comfort food at its finest!