Friday, September 28, 2007

Mini-Meatballs over Gnocchi

This is truly a 30 minute meal here, especially if someone else forms the meatballs while you do the sauce. The combo of mini meatballs and gnocchi really works well, but you can also substitue penne pasta or even bowties if you can't find gnocchi. We had this this lightly toasted French bread and boy was it fabulous!


  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausauge
  • 1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 6 fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh black pepper
  • 1 pound gnocchi, from refrigerated or frozen foods section of market
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano cheese
  • Crusty bread to pass at table

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place bulk sausage in a medium bowl. Roll into mini balls, 1 1/2 inches across, and arrange on a nonstick cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes or until firm and lightly golden.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil a large skillet over medium-high heat. To the hot skillet, add the onions and cook for 5 minutes. Then add garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook for one more minute. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce and season sauce with salt and pepper. Simmer sauce for 10 - 15 minutes.

Bring a pot of water to a boil for gnocchi. Drop gnocchi in boiling water and cook 5 minutes or to package directions.

Stir in meatballs and basil into tomato sauce and simmer 5 more minutes, then remove from heat.

Drain gnocchi and arrange on a platter. Carefully ladle meatballs and sauce over gnocchi. Sprinkle cheese over it and serve with crusty bread. So good!

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