Date Night Dinners/ Pork

Crispy Gnocchi with Sausage Meatballs

August 17, 2019 (Last Updated: October 21, 2020) by Chris Collins

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!

overhead shot of gnocchi and sausage meatballs in white bowl on brown chopping board


I really don’t cook with gnocchi enough. It’s like pasta but on crack. 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 fry them after so they go gorgeously crispy.

How to boil gnocchi

You actually only need to boil gnocchi for a couple of minutes max. A good indicator that gnocchi is cooked through is when it begins to float to the top of the water. As soon as this happens, drain the gnocchi.

You’ll most likely find gnocchi in the fresh pasta section in most grocery stores, starting from as cheap at £1.50 for a 500g/1lb pack!

gnocchi in a pot of boiling water, lifting up two pieces on a wooden spoon

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

  1. Melt butter into a saucepan over medium heat with a few fresh sage leaves.
  2. Add gnocchi and frequently toss until evenly golden and crispy.
Top Tip #1 – Don’t rinse your gnocchi after it’s boiled. A lot of starch that is removed from the gnocchi will rest on the surface, which when fried will help them go crispy. Plus you’ll just rinse away flavour.

overhead shot of crispy gnocchi in a pan

Sausage Meatballs

So we’ve got our crispy gnocchi, let’s talk sausage ragu.

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

  1. Grab a pork sausage and pull out the meat.
  2. Roll each sausage into 5-6 mini meatballs
  3. Repeat. 6 Sausages in total for this recipe.
Top Tip #2 – Try and get Italian style sausages for this recipe. Failing that, just get some good quality pork sausages (cumberlands are great)

How to make sausage meatballs - 3 step by step photos

Quick Sausage Meatball Ragu

Alrighty, meatballs rolled, onto the sauce. This is actually a really simple sauce, but packs in a good amount of flavour.

How to make sausage meatball ragu (quick summary)

  1. Add meatballs in a pan with olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Fry until golden.
  3. Add onion and garlic and fry further.
  4. Stir in tomato puree.
  5. Pour in red wine.
  6. Add tomatoes and herbs and simmer until thickened. Stir through parmesan at last second.
Top Tip #3 – Make sure you simmer to reduce the sauce before adding the parmesan. Don’t use the parmesan to thicken. With the same token, If the sauce thickens too much after the parmesan, just add a splash of water to thin out slightly.

How to make gnocchi with sausage - 6 step by step photos

Crispy Gnocchi with Sausage Meatballs

And there we have it! I recommend serving the gnocchi and meatballs separate (as in don’t mix them together) just so the gnocchi stays nice and crispy. I also recommend a heavy helping of parmesan to top (obviously) and some garlic bread on the side.

Hey, whilst you’re here why not check out my other recipes?

Alrighty, let’s tuck into this gnocchi sausage recipe shall we!?

fork holding gnocchi and meatball with a bowl in the background full of gnocchi and meatballs

How to make Crispy Gnocchi with Sausage Meatballs (Full Recipe & Video)

overhead shot of gnocchi and sausage meatballs in white bowl on brown chopping board

Crispy Gnocchi with Sausage Meatballs

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! Serves two, perfect with a side of garlic bread for a date night dinner.
4.89 from 9 votes
Print Pin Rate
Servings (click & slide): 2
Course: Date Night / Dinner / Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Calories per serving: 1316kcal
Cost per serving: £5 / $6


  • Large Pot & Colander (boiling gnocchi)
  • 12" Skillet & Wooden Spoon
  • Sharp Knife & Chopping Board

Ingredients (check list):

  • 14oz / 400g Gnocchi
  • 14oz / 400g Chopped Plum Tomatoes (see notes)
  • 6 Pork Sausages (see notes)
  • 1/4 cup / 60ml Red Wine
  • 1/4 cup / 20g Freshly Grated Parmesan, plus extra to serve
  • 2 small cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 1 small White Onion, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Puree (Tomato Paste in US)
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil, or as needed
  • 1 sprig each: Rosemary, Basil
  • few Sage Leaves
  • Salt & Black Pepper, to taste


  • Squeeze out the meat from the sausage skins & roll 5-6 mini meatballs from each sausage. Place to one side.
  • Pop your gnocchi in salted boiling for 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 pan over medium heat with a few sage leaves & add your gnocchi. Fry until crispy, shaking frequently. Season with salt & pepper then remove from pan.
  • Fry meatballs in olive oil until evenly browned. Push to the outside of the pan & add your onion. Fry until soft and beginning to brown, then add your 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. Add a sprig of basil & rosemary, season with salt & pepper, then allow to simmer for 8-12mins. Once thickened, stir in your parmesan (add a splash of water if it thickens too much). Serve with crispy gnocchi & extra parmesan.

Quick 1 min demo!


a) Crispy Gnocchi - If you can, I recommend making the gnocchi as the sauce simmers, just so it’s as hot and crispy as possible!
b) Tomatoes - Plum tomatoes give you a richer, sweeter flavour than chopped (usually). As such, I recommend buying a can of peeled plum tomatoes and chopping them in the can with a knife. Failing that, just grab a can of good quality chopped tomatoes.
c) Sausages - If you can find Italian style sausage then use them. If not, just good quality pork sausage will be great.
d) Garlic Bread - This dinner goes perfectly with a side of garlic bread!
e) Calories - based on 1 tbsp olive oil, no parmesan to top.


Nutrition Facts
Crispy Gnocchi with Sausage Meatballs
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1316 Calories from Fat 851
% Daily Value*
Fat 94.51g145%
Saturated Fat 39.052g195%
Trans Fat 0.113g
Polyunsaturated Fat 7.727g
Monounsaturated Fat 39.609g
Cholesterol 237mg79%
Sodium 1264mg53%
Potassium 1679mg48%
Carbohydrates 48.49g16%
Fiber 6.8g27%
Sugar 9.05g10%
Protein 61.68g123%
Vitamin A 1719IU34%
Vitamin C 35.4mg43%
Calcium 287mg29%
Iron 5.93mg33%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition is based on the absence of salt unless stated as a measurement in the ingredients. Cost is worked out based on ingredients bought from UK supermarkets, then divided by the number of servings. In both instances these values are just for guidance. Please check out my FAQ Page for more info.
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