Dinner - gnocchi with sausage

Dinner tonight was homemade gnocchi with sausage, broccoli rabe, and peppers, in a Parmesan butter sauce. Turned out pretty good. My son liked it a lot. I learned I’m not a fan of broccoli rabe.

If you’re a fan of Chef Boot Camp, this was inspired by the latest episode. Not too tough, but tests a lot of cooking skills.

Gnocchi recipes are plentiful. I went with potato-based, adding an egg and flour to the baked and riced potatoes. (OK, I don’t have a ricer, so I used the small side of a box grater. If I do it again, I’ll get a ricer. Too many potato lumps in the finished product with the grater.)

I baked two of the potatoes on a bed of salt, as Chef Crooks instructed. Put a third one next to them but not on salt. The goal is to keep the potatoes as dry as possible. I didn’t notice a difference. So I won’t bother again. Others might not agree. I did cut all three in half as soon as they came out of the oven to help steam escape. Let them cool a bit that way before peeling.

With the gnocchi rolled out and cut (no fancy fork curls for me, just a poke with a finger - maybe next time), it’s on to the rest. Cut, blanch and shock the broccoli rabe. Mince a couple of garlic cloves and the peppers. I used an Anaheim pepper. Will try something a bit spicier next time. And definitely something red. The dish needs the color. On the show, they used Calabrian peppers. Sorry, I’m not spending that kind of money. Feel free to make your own choice. Even a sweet bell pepper could be good.

1/2 pound of pork sausage into a hot pan to saute. I didn’t add any oil since the sausage is pretty fatty already. Ground beef or ground turkey would work as well. They’d just need a bit more spices. And I’d use butter or oil to saute ground turkey. I crumbled the sausage, but I could see a nice Italian sausage left in it’s casing. Make it a bit more of a centerpiece. Or cut it into slices after it’s cooked. With the crumbled sausage browned but not done, add the garlic and peppers and finish cooking the sausage. Add the broccoli rabe just to warm it back up, then take the pan off the flame. Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of butter and 3 - 4 ounces of grated Parmesan cheese. I splurged and used good stuff here. This isn’t the place for the grated stuff in cardboard tubes.

Now cook the gnocchi. Should only take a minute or two. Add the cooked gnocchi to the pan and toss with everything else in there. If the sauce is too thick, add a bit of the water from cooking the gnocchi. Plate and top with a bit more grated Parmesan.

Three medium potatoes gave enough gnocchi for 4 servings. Since there are just two of us, I put half of the uncooked gnocchi in the freezer for a couple of hours, then transferred the frozen stuff to a freezer bag for later. 1/2 pound of sausage, 1 Anaheim chili, and 4 or 5 stalks of broccoli rabe seemed to be pretty good for two. And don’t forget to salt and pepper things to taste. You can substitute other vegetables as you wish. Next time it’s going to be regular broccoli for me. And I’ll give Poblano or Jalapeno peppers a try. (I know, they’re not red. Maybe I’ll use a bit of red bell pepper as well.)

It took a while to make the gnocchi. Baked the potatoes for an hour at 400. Then a bit of cooling before working with them. Probably 90 minutes or so to get the gnocchi together. Everything else goes pretty quickly, but be sure to do all your prep work while the potatoes are baking. You can blanch and shock the vegetable as well during that time. Or do the gnocchi well ahead of time and hold it in the fridge or freezer. Once the sausage hits the pan, things move quickly. A good mise en place helps.



I made a similar dinner last night, minus the gnocchi.

I was unable to score spaghetti squash at the store the other day so I used gluten-free bow-tie pasta (Jovial brand–it’s good).

Sauteed a large onion, 1/2 fennel bulb, 2 red bell peppers, 1.25 lb mild Italian pork sausage, lots of garlic, a large can of whole peeled tomatoes, red pepper flakes, some tasty pinot noir, and from my herb garden, fresh parsley, oregano, and basil. I drank a glass of the pinot while cooking :wink:

I didn’t fix a separate vegetable as squash was to have been the veg, so I think I’ll fix broccoli crunch salad for lunch or maybe chard & leek quiche.