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     Baked Gnocchi with Sausage and Cheese Header

            Baked Gnocchi with Sausage and Cheese
   Baked Gnocchi with Sausage and Cheese Photo
  Rating:        
Category: Sausage, Pasta & Rice
Servings: 6 - 8
Total time: 1 hr 30 min
Level: Easy
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An authentic Italian recipe from our kitchen to yours. Buon Appetito!

Ingredients for Homemade Gnocchi

- 2 pounds starchy potatoes such as russet or red potatoes

- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

- 2 large eggs

- Salt

Ingredients for the Sauce

- 4 plum tomatoes, diced

- 20 ounces tomato puree or tomato sauce

- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

- 1/2 medium onion, peeled and minced

- 1 recipe of our Simple Homemade Italian Sausage without casings or 1 1/2 pounds of your favorite sausage brand with the casings removed

- 4 basil leaves

- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed

- 1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated

- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

- Salt 

Directions

1.  Preheat the oven to 525 degrees. If you are making homemade gnocchi, fill a pot 2/3 of the way with water, place it on the stove and bring the water to a boil over high heat.

2.  While waiting for the water to boil, scrub the potatoes to remove any dirt from the skins. Once the water begins to boil, place the potatoes in the water and lower the heat to medium high. Cover the pot and boil the potatoes for 20 - 25 minutes (possibly less time if the potatoes are smaller) or until they are fork tender when pierced.

3.  As the potatoes cook, add the olive oil to a sauté pan over medium high heat along with 1/3 cup of water. To the pan add the minced garlic and onions. Sauté the ingredients until the onion begins to turn translucent, about 3 minutes.

 

 

 

4.  Add the sausage to the sauté pan and, using the back of a fork, break up the meat into small bits. Continue sautéing the sausage until it has browned on all sides.

5.  Once the sausage has browned, add the diced tomatoes to the pan. Lower the heat to medium, cover and simmer for 8 - 10 minutes or until the tomatoes break down creating a light sauce.

6.  When the tomatoes have broken down, add the tomato puree to the pan along with 1/2 cup water and the basil leaves. Stir the ingredients well to combine and then cover the pan and let it simmer, stirring occasionally for 10 - 15 minutes. If the sauce becomes too thick during simmering add some water to the pan until you reach your desired consistency.

7.  When the sauce is finished cooking, taste it and add salt to your taste. Then remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

8.  If you are using prepared gnocchi, prepare and cook them according to the manufacturer's instructions. Otherwise, once the boiled potatoes are cooked, remove them from the water and allow any excess water to drain off well. Set the potatoes aside and allow them to cool slightly until you are able to handle them.

9.  Meanwhile, discard the potato boiling water, wash the pot and refill it with fresh water. Place the pot back on the stove, add a generous pinch of salt and bring it to a boil.

10.  Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, remove the skins of the potatoes and discard.

11.  Then pass the peeled potatoes through a potato ricer or a food mill into a mixing bowl or on to your preferred kneading surface.

12.  In the mixing bowl or on your kneading surface, make a well in the center of the potatoes. Sprinkle the flour and a pinch of salt, on top of and into the well of the potatoes. Crack the eggs into the center of the well.

13.  Using your fingers, break the egg yolks and proceed to mix the ingredients thoroughly until a shaggy ball of dough begins to form. Begin to knead the dough and continue kneading until the dough is uniform, soft and smooth. Do not over knead. The dough should not be tough or hard.

14.  Using a knife, cut 1/4 of the dough and roll it out with your hands into a long rope, about 1/4 inch in diameter. Take your knife and cut the rope into small pieces about 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide; then pass the cut gnocchi through a little bit of flour and place them on a plate to be cooked. If you have time, you can roll each little piece of pasta down the back side of a fork to create grooves in the pasta to hold the sauce better.

15.  Repeat step 14 until you have used all of the dough.

16.  Take the plate of gnocchi to the pot of boiling water. In batches, drop a generous amount of gnocchi into the water. As soon as the pasta floats to the top, it has finished cooking. Remove the pasta as soon as possible with a small strainer or a slotted spoon, drain them well and place the gnocchi into the pan with the sausage sauce. Continue this process until all of the gnocchi have been cooked, strained well and added to the sauce.

17.  Carefully toss the gnocchi thoroughly in the sausage sauce being careful not to break the pasta.

18.  Line an oven safe baking dish with parchment paper or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

19.  Pour half of the gnocchi and sauce mixture into the baking dish and spread it evenly throughout the dish. Top this first layer with half of the diced mozzarella and half of the grated Parmigiano. Then repeat this process with the other half of the gnocchi mixture and the cheeses.

20.  Place the baking dish on the center rack in the oven and bake for 10 - 15 minutes or until the cheese has thoroughly melted and the gnocchi on top begin to brown.

21.  Remove the dish from the oven and wait 5 - 10 minutes prior to serving. Serve with extra grated Parmigiano cheese.