Creamy Tomato Basil Sauce with Sausage and Gnocchi

What was on the menu wasn’t really thrilling me today.  So, I looked around my newly organized pantry and in my fridge and freezer and pulled together the following items and came up with a yummy dinner!  And, the kids… they liked it!  One love gnocchi and so he ate as much of that as I could keep on his plate.  The other loved the sausage in the sauce and devoured that.  In fact, they even resorted to swapping the parts of their meals with each other that they liked best.  Works for me! 

Creamy Tomato Basil Sauce with Sausage and Gnocchi

5 Italian sausage links (I used Trader Joes Spicy Italian Vino and Formaggio Chicken Sausage)
4 cloves garlic, minced, divided
4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
3 c. baby spinach
4 oz. cream cheese
1 tsp. dried basil
1 1/2 c. tomato basil sauce
1 pkg. multi-colored gnocchi
fresh grated parmesan cheese, for garnish

In a large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil and 2 minced garlic cloves.  Remove sausage from casings and cook in oil.  When sausage is cooked through, add spinach and cook until wilted.  Add tomato basil sauce, dried basil, and cream cheese and reduce heat to low.  Stir occationally to combine as cream cheese melts into the sauce.

In a seperate pan, bring water to a boil.  Boil gnocchi for 2-3 minutes until they are floating on the surface of the water and are tender.  Remove from water and set aside.  In a large skillet, heat remaining 2 Tbsp. olive oil and garlic cloves until fragrant.  Place gnocchi in a single layer in the pan.  Cook until it begins to get crisp on one side (about 3-4 minutes).  Give the pan a good shake to rotate some of the gnocchi.  Cook for another 2-4 minutes until gnocchi are crispy all around.

Serve gnocchi with sauce on top and garnish with fresh grated parmesan cheese.

Husband Rating: 6 out of 10 (My husband is a bit of a sauce snob – he likes white sauces to be white, red sauces to be red, but doesn’t like when the sauces are a bit in-between like tonight.  So, I was pleasantly surprised with a six on a meal I didn’t really think he would like!)  🙂

Food for Thought: You could skip the crisping part of the gnocchi and serve it soft as well.  I just personally like the texture of the crispy gnocchi in contrast to the sauce.  If you are pinched for time or don’t want to dirty another pan, simply just boil the gnocchi and serve! 

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One response

  1. We FINALLY tried this last night and it was a major hit! I used tortellini because Owen doesn’t like gnocchi (we’ve tried it several times and he refuses it) and it was awesome. We actually had too much sauce, so I froze the extra and plan to make this next month with penne that time. I’m not really sure that the noodle/pasta makes much difference because the sauce is fantastic. Next time I will use 6 links of sausage (and spicy ones too since Owen doesn’t like the sausage either) and the whole bag of spinach. Thanks!

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