Gnocchi with Sausage, Fennel and Kale

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There is something so comforting about eating a bowl of plump gnocchi. Pronounced “nyoe-kee,” this simple-to-make, soft-dough dumpling is tossed with sweet Italian sausage, tomatoes, fennel, kale and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Enjoy with a loaf of warm artisan bread, served with high-quality olive oil and a favorite wine for a simple yet fantastically flavorful meal. You’ll find many varieties of gnocchi, including gluten free, in our grocery aisles.

Serves: 4
Difficulty: easy
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 30 min


1 bunch red kale, leaf only, ribs removed
1 lb sweet Italian sausage, made fresh in your Market Meat Dept. *
1 T + 2 T + 1 T olive oil
1 fennel bulb, stalks and core removed (save fronds for garnish), julienned
1 lg, ripe tomato, chunked (colorful heirloom preferably)
1 white onion, julienned
1 lg carrot, peeled, diced 1/4″
2 T garlic, minced
28 oz can diced tomatoes
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
16 oz gnocchi (raw weight) **
1 T ea fresh parsley and basil, chopped
1/4 c freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
pinch red chili flakes


Heat oven to 375 degrees. Toss kale leaves with a light drizzle of olive oil and pinch of pepper. Spread in single layer on sheet pan and bake 5-7 min, until crisp on edges. Set aside.

In large skillet, cook and crumble sausage in 1 T olive oil until just barely done. Using a slotted spoon, remove from pan and set aside (to add to simmering sauce and finish cooking later).

In the same pan with sausage juices, add 2 T olive oil and sauté fennel, fresh tomato, onion and carrot until softened, approx. 5 min. Add garlic and cook 1 min more. Add diced and crushed canned tomatoes and bring to a simmer; cook until fennel is completely softened, approx. 20 min, adding more water as needed for desired consistency. Add sausage and simmer for 3 min.

Boil gnocchi in lightly salted water until floating and tender, according to package directions (times vary). Drain, drizzle with 1 T of olive oil and gently toss; add to sauce while hot. Toss all with kale and herbs, then garnish with cheese and fennel fronds, as desired. Serve immediately.

* To make this recipe vegetarian, omit sausage.
** To make this recipe gluten-free friendly, use gluten-free gnocchi.