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Bring your neighborhood trattoria home with this easy, one-pan skillet gnocchi dinner. Everything cooks in a large skillet in about 20 minutes — you get the carb-rich comfort of soft gnocchi and protein-packed Italian sausage, combined in a flavorful fresh basil and tomato sauce. There’s no need to boil the gnocchi in a separate pot. Use meat, poultry, or plant-based sausage.
I grew up enjoying pasta dinners almost daily in my Italian-American family. Our favorite gnocchi sauces were always the simplest, like quick homemade marinara sauce with my grandfather’s homemade Italian sausage pasta or tossed in a creamy Alfredo sauce. Soooo good!
About the ingredients
- Gnocchi: These Italian pasta dumplings are readily available in grocery stores, in vacuum-packed, shelf-stable packages, or in the refrigerated section. After many taste tests, this is my favorite supermarket brand (that is, if I’m not using my recipe for homemade potato gnocchi or ricotta gnocchi). They’re also perfect for making sheet pan gnocchi.
- Italian sausage: Use any Italian-style sausage, spicy or sweet, made with seasoned ground pork, turkey, chicken, or a plant-based sausage. For quick, even cooking, slice the links into bite-sized pieces or use bulk sausage without casings.
- Tomatoes: You can use sun-dried tomatoes for the most umami flavor — try to find soft-textured ones. Or use 1 cup of fresh cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half.
- Aromatics: Onion and garlic cook in olive oil to start the foundational flavors.
- Parmesan cheese: I always recommend using the best quality Parmesan you can afford. Tip: Buy a big hunk, grate it in a food processor, and store it for weeks in the refrigerator.
- Broth: Use your choice of chicken broth or vegetable broth.
- Basil: Fresh basil adds the best finishing touch to the dish. Instead of using dried herbs, substitute with freshly chopped parsley.
Skillet gnocchi recipe steps
Stovetop Gnocchi with Sausage, Tomato and Basil
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup (175 g) finely chopped onion, about one small onion
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- ⅓ cup (60 g) moist sun-dried tomatoes, sliced, or 1 cup fresh cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
- 1 pound (450 g) uncooked Italian sausage links, sliced 1-inch thick
- 1½ pounds (680 g) potato gnocchi
- 1½ cups (350 ml) chicken broth, or vegetable broth
- Kosher salt
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup sliced basil, or chopped parsley
- Heat the olive oil in a large (10-12-inch) skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is translucent, but not browned, about 3 minutes.
- Add the red pepper and sun-dried tomatoes, stirring to blend with the onions, and cook about 1 minute. Add the sausage and turn the heat up to medium-high. Cook the sausage, stirring frequently, until it's no longer pink on the surface, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the gnocchi until they're evenly dispersed with the sausage. Pour in the broth and add ½ teaspoon salt. Bring the broth to a simmer, then lower the heat and cover the pan. Cook until the gnocchi are puffed and the sausage is cooked through, 6-8 minutes. Stir once or twice during the process to ensure the gnocchi aren't sticking to the pan.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the cheese and basil. Transfer to a serving platter or serve from the skillet.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- Store leftovers refrigerated for up to 5 days. Drizzle in additional broth or water as needed when reheating, because the pan sauce will be absorbed by the gnocchi as they cool.
- Packaged gnocchi comes in a variety of sizes, ranging from 12 ounces to 17.5 ounces. I tested the recipe using 2 (12-ounce) packages of this brand, but you can successfully use one 16-17.5-ounce package if that’s what you have.
- Use any Italian-style sausage, spicy or sweet, made with seasoned ground pork, turkey, chicken, or a plant-based sausage.
- If your sun-dried tomatoes are very dry and inflexible, soften them for about 5 minutes in hot water before slicing. You can also substitute them with fresh cherry tomatoes, sliced in half.
- Fresh basil adds the best finishing touch to the dish. Instead of using dried herbs, substitute with freshly chopped parsley.