Sausages and bell peppers are cooked in a rich, creamy, tomato and basil sauce. Nestle some lightly toasted gnocchi into the sauce – crispy/crunchy on top, soft and fluffy underneath. Then cover the whole lot in a layer of gooey, melted cheese.
Hmm, what time is dinner?
I figured it was high time I got another main course recipe up on the blog.
Keeping with my ever-faithful carb theme was a given. (Just call me a comfort-food fanatic…) After digging around in my freezer, I decided to use potato gnocchi (and cheese!) to make this winter warming sausage, pepper and gnocchi casserole.
The gnocchi had been on sale at my local supermarket (it’s on my ‘to try making myself’ bucket-list, but it’s way down on the list…) The cartons of chopped tomatoes were also on sale (I stocked up big-time!) And my basil plant refuses to slow down on producing more leaves than I know what to do with.
I guess it was meant to be…
You can of course use store bought basil pesto – no judging here, it’s just that basil is apparently the only green thing that I don’t kill off in 2.4 seconds. If you do, then it only takes 8 ingredients to make this casserole (I’m not counting the water…) Add some steamed veggies (I used broccoli and peas), and you’ve got yourself an easy-to-make, (potentially!) one-pot dish that’s delicious, great value for money, and in our case, fed four generously.
I say potentially for the one-pot deal, because truthfully, I don’t have a suitable stove-top to oven casserole dish. I actually make this casserole in a deep skillet, then transfer it to a ceramic oven-proof dish, add the (pre-sautéed) gnocchi, cover it with cheese, then finish it off in the oven.
If you do have a suitable dish? It’s your lucky day – Yay for less washing up!
By pre-cooking the gnocchi in a little oil, you get the best of both worlds – the top of the gnocchi stays crispy and slightly crunchy, and the bottom soaks up all that rich, tomato and basil sauce, and goes extra fluffy and soft. You can see from some of the photos that the cheese got over-browned a touch – the curse of spending too long trying (emphasis on trying…) to set up suitable shots when all you really want is to just dive in and start eating!
The only problem with this sausage, pepper and gnocchi casserole?
I can’t seem to stop myself scooping up the crispy-soft, cheesy gnocchi from the top of the casserole dish – they’re burning my fingers, but I don’t care!
Do you think anyone would notice if every third gnocchi was missing?
- 500g (16 oz package) potato gnocchi (homemade or store bought)
- 2 tablespoons oil, divided
- 2 medium red bell peppers, seeds removed and diced
- 4 large (approx ½ pound) pork sausages, casings removed
- 400g (14 oz) carton chopped tomatoes in juice
- 60ml (1/4 cup) water (or stock)*
- 2 tablespoons basil pesto (homemade or store bought)
- 2 - 3 tablespoons double (heavy) cream**
- 50g (2 oz) cheese, grated (I used a mixture of Parmesan & mozzarella)
- Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 5 (375F degrees).
- Heat one and a half tablespoons of oil in a deep skillet (or cast iron casserole dish) over a medium heat.
- Add the potato gnocchi and saute for 5-8 mins, turning occasionally, until lightly browned. Remove the gnocchi to a plate and set aside.
- Heat the rest of the oil in the now empty skillet, then break up the skinned sausages into small chunks and add them to the pan. Add the diced red bell pepper, and cook for another 8-10 mins, or until the sausages have browned all over and the pepper has softened.
- Stir in the chopped tomatoes, water (or stock) and pesto. Simmer for a couple of minutes, then stir in the cream.
- If you are using a stove-top to oven casserole dish you can continue with the recipe as below, otherwise, spoon the sausage and pepper mixture into an oven-proof casserole dish before continuing.
- Arrange the gnocchi on top of the sausage mixture. Sprinkle with cheese and then bake in the oven for 20 mins or until the sauce is bubbling, and the cheese is melted and golden brown.
- Remove from the oven, and leave to stand for a few minutes before serving.
**You could also use cream cheese, sour cream or greek yogurt.