Baked Gnocchi with Meat Sauce

I was scrounging around in the freezer to see what I could come up with and this just all came together. I had a bag of frozen gnocchi and I found some ground sausage. I whipped up some meat sauce and added ricotta, parmesan, and some fresh mozzarella. It was meant to be! This would be great with gnocchi or tortellini, or ravioli. I could have done the same thing with a tubular shaped pasta as baked “ziti”-ish.

I always keep tomato sauce around. My fav is plain crushed tomatoes. It has a fresher flavor than jarred sauce and doesn’t have lots of weird stuff in it. It’s handy and if I can’t use it a few ways than I pop the rest in the freezer.

The Three Bite Rule - Baked Gnocchi

Ingredients:

frozen or refrigerated gnocchi
28 oz Pastene kitchen ready tomatoes
12 oz sweet Italian Sausage
6 oz fresh mozzarella
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup ricotta

Directions:

In a large pan over medium-high heat, brown the sausage until cooked through, about 7 minutes breaking it up into smaller pieces.
Drain and return to the pot. Add in the tomatoes, cover, and reduce heat to low.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and preheat the oven to 350-degrees.
Boil the gnocchi according to the package, they will raise to the top when they’re cooked.
Ladle some sauce onto the bottom of a baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray.
The Three Bite Rule - Baked Gnocchi
Gently toss the gnocchi with some sauce, and spoon half into the baking dish. Sprinkle half the Parmesan and dollops of half of the ricotta.
The Three Bite Rule - Baked Gnocchi
Ladle some more sauce in, the rest of the gnocchi, the rest of the ricotta, and the rest of the Parmesan.
The Three Bite Rule - Baked Gnocchi
Sprinkle in some basil/thyme/Parsley and then ladle in a little more sauce.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Add sliced mozzarella and return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes.

The Three Bite Rule - Baked Gnocchi

Ohh wow. I loved this. It had great flavor and texture. The cheesiness was so great, and varied from the ricotta, Parmesan, and mozzarella. I only had a small amount of mozzarella so that went onto the top. I almost always have ricotta kicking around…ricotta is a typical breakfast on toast with sliced avocado.  I love the sweet sausage in the sauce.

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