Here I’ll show you a simple way to make crispy pan fried gnocchi. Paired with a sausage meatball ragu, this truly is the perfect comfort food dinner!
Sure, this dinner takes a little prep, but it’s SO worth it. Follow me…
I really don’t use gnocchi enough. It’s quick to cook, delicious to eat and super duper filling. It’s most common to boil gnocchi, which results in soft pillows of goodness. Today we’re going to do just that, but pan frying them after so they go gorgeously crispy.
Preparing the gnocchi
You actually only need to boil gnocchi for a couple of minutes max. Because we’re toasting the gnocchi, you don’t want to completely cook it through. Just long enough to remove some starch and soften it slightly. So whatever the packet says, I’d take a minute off the cooking time. As the gnocchi simmers, I recommend scooping out a mug of the starchy water too, which you can use to thin out the meatball sauce.
Crispy Pan Fried Gnocchi
By boiling the gnocchi you’re essentially removing starch, which in turn is what helps the centre be more ‘fluffy’. Sure, boiled gnocchi is great, but imagine having pillows of goodness that are crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside? *drools*
How to pan fry gnocchi (quick summary)
- Melt butter into a pan over medium heat with a few fresh sage leaves.
- Add gnocchi and frequently toss until evenly golden and crispy.
So we’ve got our crispy gnocchi, let’s talk sausage meatballs.
I started off developing this recipe using a classic bolognese aka gnocchi bolognese. But, meh. Not creative enough. So beef bolognese led to sausage, and sausage led to mini sausage meatballs. Yeah, that’s literally how simply my mind works 😂
How to make sausage meatballs (quick summary)
- Grab a pork sausage and pull out the meat.
- Roll each sausage into 5-6 mini meatballs
- Repeat. 6 Sausages in total for this recipe.
Quick Sausage Meatball Ragu
Alrighty, meatballs rolled, onto the sauce. This is actually a really simple sauce, but it still packs in a good amount of flavour.
How to make sausage meatball ragu (quick summary)
- Add meatballs to a pan with olive oil over medium heat.
- Fry until golden.
- Add onion and garlic and fry further.
- Stir in tomato puree.
- Pour in red wine.
- Add tomatoes and herbs and simmer until thickened. Stir through parmesan at the last second.
Gnocchi and Sausage FAQ
Do I have to toast the gnocchi?
Short answer – no. You could just boil the gnocchi if you’d prefer, but you lose out on the buttery flavour and crisp exterior. If you’ve never tried crispy gnocchi before I’d recommend giving it a go 🙂
Can I use regular sausage meat instead of sausages?
You can use ground sausage meat yes, just definitely make sure it’s not regular pork (sausage meat is seasoned – pork is not!).
Can I use dried herbs instead of fresh ones?
If you can’t find sage, don’t sub dried sage, the gnocchi will still be great without it. You can sub dried rosemary and basil though if you don’t have fresh.
Can I make this ahead of time?
I don’t recommend making the gnocchi ahead of time, but you could make the meatballs and sauce ahead of time (more on this in the recipe card notes below).
Serving Gnocchi and Sausage Meatballs
I recommend serving the gnocchi and meatballs separate (as in don’t mix them together) just so the gnocchi stays nice and crispy. Serve up with any leftover basil and parmesan you’ve got on hand, then tuck in and enjoy! This dish is awesome as a Date Night Dinner for two. You could also add some Homemade Garlic Bread on the side if you wanted some more carby goodness 😋
Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full recipe for this toasted gnocchi and sausage meatballs shall we?!
How to make Crispy Gnocchi with Sausage Meatballs (Full Recipe & Video)
Crispy Gnocchi with Sausage Meatballs
- Large Pot & Colander (boiling gnocchi)
- Large Frying Pan & Wooden Spoon (for sausage meatballs & sauce)
- Separate Frying Pan (for frying gnocchi)
- Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
- Fine Cheese Grater
Ingredients (check list):
- 14oz / 400g store-bought Fresh Gnocchi (see notes)
- 2 tbsp Butter
- few Sage Leaves (not a deal-breaker if you don't have these. Could sub a sprig of rosemary instead)
- pinch of Salt & Black Pepper, to taste
- 6 Pork Sausages (see notes)
- 1x 14oz/400g can of Chopped Plum Tomatoes
- 1/4 cup / 60ml Red Wine
- 1/4 cup / 20g freshly grated Parmesan
- 2 small cloves of Garlic, finely diced (or 1 large clove)
- 1 small White Onion, finely diced
- 1 tbsp Tomato Puree (Tomato Paste in US)
- 1 fresh sprig EACH: Rosemary, Basil (or sub ~1/4 tsp dried of each)
- drizzle of Olive Oil, for frying meatballs
- Squeeze out 5-6 small chunks of meat from each sausage, then roll the chunks into mini meatballs.
- Fry the meatballs in a large pan with a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat until evenly browned. Add onion and fry until soft and beginning to brown, then add the garlic & fry for a minute longer.
- Stir in tomato puree, then deglaze with the red wine. Simmer for a few mins to reduce down, then pour in tomatoes and a splash of water to swill out the can. Add a sprig of basil & rosemary, season with salt & pepper, then give everything a good stir. Turn heat to low and allow to simmer for around 12-15mins, or until the sauce begins to thicken and the tomatoes have broken down. Stir in parmesan, with a splash of gnocchi water (see below) to thin out the sauce as needed.
- Whilst the sauce is simmering, pop the gnocchi in salted boiling for 1-2mins until they’re just about cooked through & the water is completely cloudy. As soon as the first piece of gnocchi floats to the top, drain in a colander.
- Melt butter in a separate pan over medium heat with a few sage leaves & add the gnocchi. Fry until light golden and crisp, shaking frequently (7-10mins). Season with salt & pepper.
- Remove basil, rosemary and sage from the gnocchi and meatballs, then serve up with any leftover basil leaves and parmesan. Enjoy!
Quick 1 min demo!
Your Private Notes:
Hey, whilst you’re here why not check out my other recipes?
- Meatball Recipes – Buffalo Chicken Meatballs, Meatball Subs, Meatball Pasta Bake, Cranberry Turkey Meatballs.
- Gnocchi Recipes – Date Night Baked Gnocchi, Gnocchi Mac and Cheese, Ground Turkey Gnocchi
- Sausage Recipe – Penne Arrabiata with Smoked Sausage, Devilled Sausages, Sausage Pasta in a Mascarpone Tomato Sauce, Spaghetti Hoops & Sausages
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