Gnocchi with Chicken Sausage, Bell Pepper, and Fennel
4 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)
Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Cindy Barr
1 (16-ounce) package vacuum-packed gnocchi (such as Vigo)
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
6 ounces basil, pine nut, and chicken sausage (such as Gerhard's), casing removed and sliced
1 cup thinly sliced fennel
1 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1/2 cup (2 ounces) freshly grated Asiago cheese
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
How to Make It
Cook the gnocchi according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain the gnocchi in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Keep gnocchi warm.
Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Remove sausage from skillet using a slotted spoon.
Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in pan. Add fennel, bell pepper, and onion to pan; cook 13 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add sausage, gnocchi, cheese, black pepper, and reserved cooking liquid to pan; cook 1 minute or until cheese melts, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in parsley.
I whipped this up on a busy weeknight and I absolutely loved it. This is appropriate for any situation from a casual weeknight meal to entertaining. I used whole wheat sweet potato gnocchi, sun dried tomato chicken sausage, and parmesan cheese, but other than that I followed the recipe. The only caveat is that if you don't like fennel, you won't like this. My husband doesn't like fennel so if I make it again I might substitute a different vegetable.
Outstanding and very open to substitutions! We don't get Gerhard sausage here, so I used regular Johnsonville. It would be great with spicy sausage, but my 6-year-old can't eat anything spicy. I can never find fennel and I don't like it anyway, so I just added another 1/2 cup of onion. (I had some leftover vidalia onion and threw that in with the regular; very good.) My husband hates asiago cheese, so I used parmiggiano-reggiano. I added the toasted pine nuts like another person suggested, and I threw in a can of diced tomatoes to give the dish more sauce. Of course, between the regular sausage and the pine nuts, the whole "lite" thing is out the window, but it's still delish.
This was delicious and easy to make dairy-free (I have a milk allergy). I omitted the cheese and added 3-4 T. toasted pine nuts. I would recommend that substitution to everyone: the flavor is good and the pine nuts add that missing crunch. The other change I made was to use almost 3/4 c. cooking water with the final dish for more sauciness.
Despite the ingredients, which are not part of my everyday pantry, I wouldn't call this a special-occasion dish because it looks so home-style.