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Baked Gnocchi with Italian Sausage makes even the pickiest eaters happy! Tender gnocchi smothered in ricotta, spinach and sweet Italian sausage to create the ultimate comfort food 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!
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!
Bake until warm and bubbly – and dinner is served!
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Let set for ten minutes and serve.
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