Gnocchi sautéed with turkey sausage is probably my most favorite dish of the season. It's hearty, delicious and filling. For extra creaminess, I added crumbled blue cheese, which also imparts extra saltiness to the dish. You definitely can't go wrong with this one-dish menu. Plus, I froze the extra gnocchi dough and stored it for a future meal.
I've been introducing new foods to Aria. And even though she's only 27 months old, I'm fascinated to see how much she enjoys learning. She helped me shape the gnocchi pasta. For fun, I formed letters and she said a word that would begin with that letter. A beautiful, delicious dinner was ready and Aria practiced her alphabet .
Servings: 8 servings
1 pound gnocchi
4 apple turkey sausages
3 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ cup pine nuts
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
6 tablespoons Asiago cheese, finely shaved
½ cup diced tomatoes, canned
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
¼ cup tomato paste
½ teaspoon Herbes de Provence
½ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons blue cheese, coarsely crumbled
1 red onion, finely chopped
1½ tablespoons salt
4 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
Prepping the onion:
Reserve half of the onion raw and caramelize the rest. Heat the olive oil in a small pan. Sauté half the onion with the red chili flakes in the oil over low heat for about 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent the onions from burning, until the color is evenly golden brown and the onions are tender. Season with salt. Turn off the heat. Transfer to a platter.
How to make the tomato pesto:
In a mini-food processor or mini-blender, combine the diced tomato and caramelized onion mixture, herbes de Provence, raw onions, tomato paste, 1 clove of garlic, pine nuts, and 4 tablespoons Asiago cheese. Pulse, add red wine vinegar and slowly add about 1/3 cup (or more) of olive oil until it becomes a thick paste. Season with salt and pepper.
For the turkey sausage:
Prick the sausages with a fork.
With a brush, grease a frying pan and heat until it's really hot, almost at the smoking point. Place the sausages in the pan. Roll the sausages using tongs and brown each side of them for about 1½ minutes (a total of about 9 minutes) until golden. Remove from the pan.
Cut the sausages into ½-inch slices. Set aside.
Cooking the gnocchi:
Add a large amount of salted water to a pot and bring to a boil (you always need a large amount of water when boiling pasta, even for gnocchi!). Add the gnocchi, bring back to a boil, then immediately lower the heat to a gentle boil. Cook the pasta for about 3-4 minutes total until the gnocchi float to the surface. Drain the gnocchi, reserving some of the pasta water.
In a large sauté pan (or the same frying pan), heat the rest of the oil. Add a clove of garlic and cook until slightly golden. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the drained gnocchi to the pan. Toss well for about 1 minute. Cover and turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and cook for about 3 minutes, tossing the pasta by shaking the pan. Season with salt and pepper. If the pasta starts sticking to the bottom, add a little of the reserved pasta water. Add the tomato pesto sauce. Toss for another 2 minutes until all the pasta is coated with sauce. Add more pasta water (if necessary). Add the sausages. Sprinkle with parsley. Check seasoning. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and let it sit for about 5-10 minutes. Transfer to a large serving platter. Garnish with the blue cheese and the remaining Asiago cheese.
You could use your favorite flavoed sausage. The key is to brown the sausage; it creates a textural contrast and develops the flavor of the sausage.
I added Asiageo and blue cheese for a subtle saltiness and extra creaminess.
Herbes de Provence is a combination of herbs originating from the Mediterranean region. They're ideal for grilled meat, roasted vegetables, tomato sauce and ratatouille. You can create your own if you have the following ingredients: savory, fennel, basil, thyme, rosemary and lavender.