A flavorful tomato sauce with miniature sausage “meatballs” served over gnocchi. An easy, hearty, and delicious meal!
Tomato and Sausage Gnocchi
This is hands down one of the easiest and tastiest meals you’ll ever make! I had my sister and her husband visiting last week and I made this for them. They had visited Italy last year and they said this dish was even better than the pasta they had eaten in Italy! Being a HUGE fan of all things Italian, especially the food, this was one of the best compliments I have ever received! I am excited to share it with you and hear what you think of this recipe!
How to make Tomato and Sausage Gnocchi:
- Prepare the mini meatballs – Roll one pound of Italian sausage into small balls (about the size of a nickel). Add olive oil to a large nonstick skillet, heat to medium high, and brown the meatballs by gently turning around the meatballs for about 2-3 minutes. I recommend doing 1/2 of the meatballs at a time so that you have enough room in the skillet to brown them evenly. After all the meatballs are cooked, remove the meatballs to a plate and quickly wipe out the skillet.
- Prepare the sauce – Using the same skillet, add 1/4 cup olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add in the garlic and wait until the garlic sizzles to add in the canned tomatoes and water. Add in the seasonings and submerge a sprig of basil into the sauce. Then, add in the meatballs, cover in sauce, and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Serve over gnocchi or spaghetti noodles: While the sauce is cooking, prepare your pasta of choice according to package instructions.
Can this Tomato and Sausage Gnocchi be made ahead of time:
Yes, just store gnocchi separately from the sausage tomato mixture. The tomato mixture can be stored in the fridge for up to four days. Homemade gnocchi can be stored in the freezer for up to two months, and there’s no need to thaw the gnocchi when you’re ready to use it. If you’re using store bought gnocchi, all you need is a pot of boiling water and it will be ready in minutes. It’s best to cook the gnocchi right before eating and I would not recommend cooking the gnocchi in advance.
How to make your own homemade gnocchi:
For this recipe, I use store bought gnocchi because it is so much easier and is still super tasty. However, if you’re looking to make your own gnocchi, here’s how to do it:
- Prepare the potatoes – Boil 2 pounds of potatoes (approximately 4 potatoes) with their skins on for about 20 minutes or until fork tender. Keeping the skins on helps prevent the potatoes from absorbing too much moisture. I recommend using Yukon Gold potatoes for their flavor and color, but other varieties would work as well. Drain well and allow the potatoes to cool and then remove the skins.
- Make the dough – Rice the potatoes and measure out two cups of lightly packed riced potatoes. Stir in two egg yolks and 1 teaspoon of salt. Once combined, add 1/2 cup flour and stir until it becomes a thick, stiff dough. Gently knead the dough until smooth. Don’t add too much flour or over knead the dough or the gnocchi will become hard and dense. The dough should be light and airy and should still be slightly sticky.
- Preparing the gnocchi – Using a floured surface, divide the dough into eight equally sized pieces. Roll each piece out gently until it resembles a long breadstick. The thicker the roll, the thicker the gnocchi. Cut the gnocchi into 3/4 inch pieces. If desired, push a fork against the gnocchi to give it a textured appearance.
- Cooking the gnocchi – Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Gently remove excess flour and place the gnocchi into the pot. The gnocchi is cooked once it floats to the top. This typically takes 2-4 minutes.
- Storing gnocchi – If left too long, gnocchi will quickly begin to stick to itself. To prevent the gnocchi from sticking, you should begin cooking it within 30 minutes. If you want to make the gnocchi ahead of time, you can freeze it. To properly freeze gnocchi, place the gnocchi on a floured baking sheet and leave it in the freezer until completely frozen (at least 2 hours). After they are completely frozen, you can place them in an airtight container in the freezer until you are ready to use them (for up to two months). When are you ready to cook your gnocchi, there’s no need to thaw them! Just cook the frozen gnocchi in boiling water.
What to serve alongside this Tomato and Sausage Gnocchi:
Adapting this meal to your preferences
- Can I use something other than Italian sausage? While you could use ground beef or ground turkey, this dish won’t be nearly as flavorful. I’d highly recommend sticking to the sausage. Alternatively, you could use a different meatball recipe in its place. If you’re a cheese lover, you may want try these mini mozzarella meatballs.
- Can I pair this sauce with other noodles? Absolutely! When I made this the other day, I made up gnocchi for the adults and spaghetti noodles for my boys who were being picky eaters. I loved the sauce on both noodles. This sauce and meatballs would be a great addition to whatever pasta you have in your cupboards!
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A flavorful tomato sauce with miniature sausage "meatballs" served over gnocchi. An easy, hearty, and delicious meal!
- 1 pound mild or hot ground Italian sausage
- 3 tablespoons + 1/4 cup olive oil, separated
- 1 can (28 ounces) CRUSHED tomatoes, the higher the quality of these, the better it will taste!
- 5-6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 sprig Fresh basil
- 2 packages (16 ounces EACH) mini potato gnocchi
- Optional: freshly grated Parmesan cheese, additional fresh basil
- Fine sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
Form very small "meatballs" with the ground Italian sausage. We're not adding anything to the sausage, just rolling it into small balls.
In a large nonstick skillet, add 1 and 1/2 tablespoons olive oil. Heat to medium high and then add in about 1/2 of the meatballs. Gently turn the meatballs over and cook for about 2-3 minutes or until they are browned (but not cooked through). Remove to a plate. Add another 1 and 1/2 tablespoons oil and repeat with the rest of the meatballs. Remove the rest of those meatballs to the plate. Quickly wipe out the skillet.
In the same skillet, add remaining 1/4 cup olive oil. When the oil is hot, add in the garlic. As soon as the garlic sizzles, add in the canned tomatoes. Pour 1 cup water into the can of tomatoes and slosh around to get the rest of the tomatoes. Pour that into the skillet as well. Add dried oregano, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and 1 teaspoon salt (or salt to taste). Stir. Add 1 sprig of basil and submerge it in the sauce.
Add the cooked meatballs into the mixture and gently stir until they are covered in the sauce. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring every now and again, or until completely cooked through. Discard the basil sprig.
Meanwhile, prepare the gnocchi according to package directions. Drain.
Top the gnocchi with the meatballs and sauce. Garnish with fresh ribboned basil, additional cracked pepper, & freshly grated Parmesan cheese