Jan 28, 2016

Baked Sausage and Kale Gnocchi with Garlic Cream Sauce

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 50 mins
The mix of bubbling cheese, garlic cream sauce, Italian sausage and tender kale makes this gnocchi bake like a cross between a gratin and a fancy casserole.

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This gnocchi bake is the perfect meal if you have people coming over for dinner that you want to impress but you don’t have tons of time and energy. The mix of fluffy gnocchi, bubbling cheese, garlic cream sauce, Italian sausage and tender kale makes this dinner bake like a cross between a gratin and a fancy casserole.

Baked Sausage and Kale Gnocchi with Garlic Cream Sauce

sausage and kale gnocchi with garlic cream sauce cooking with cocktail rings

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Italian sausage – I use mild Italian sausage with the casings removed in this recipe though you can swap it with hot Italian to bring up the heat level. I use a wooden spoon to break up the sausage as it cooks in the pan.
  • Kale – The kale is sautéed in the pan before it’s tossed with the other ingredients so it wilts slightly and cooks down. Be sure to remove the thick ribs from the kale before it’s chopped and added to the recipe. They can be very tough.
  • Italian breadcrumbs – Italian breadcrumbs are seasoned with spices like oregano and basil. The breadcrumbs add a crunchy element to the dish. You can also use plain breadcrumbs or panko breadcrumbs.
  • Potato gnocchi – I find it easiest to use store-bought gnocchi in this recipe. It cuts down on a lot of extra work making this a great weeknight meal.
  • Parmesan cheese – Parmesan-Reggiano is definitely one of my favorite cheeses. It’s a hard cow’s milk cheese aged for different lengths of time. I’d recommend buying a roughly cut piece of wrapped cheese from the grocery store – it’s typically a higher quality cheese.
  • Bechamel sauce – Bechamel sauce is a basic cream sauce made from a roux base. Flour is cooked in butter to reduce the flavor of the flour in the sauce. It’s then simmered with whole milk to make a thick, creamy sauce tossed with the gnocchi.
Garlic cream sauce, Italian sausage and tender kale make this gnocchi bake a cross between a gratin and a fancy casserole.

How to Make Baked Sausage and Kale Gnocchi with Garlic Cream Sauce

  1. Make the roux. Place a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the butter and allow to melt. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Next, stir in the flour and whisk until combined.
  2. Add the milk to create the bechamel sauce. Cook, whisking occasionally, for another 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk and continue to cook over medium-low heat, until the mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. Season with kosher salt and pepper to taste then remove the sauce from heat.
  3. Add sausage to pan. Preheat oven to 375°F. Place a medium sauté pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat through. Remove the sausage from their casings and add to the pan.
  4. Cook the sausage. Cook the sausage completely, using a wooden spoon to break it into pieces, about 10 minutes. Remove the sausage from the pan, reserving as much oil as possible in the pan and set aside in a medium bowl.
  5. Sauté the kale. Return the pan to heat and add the remaining olive oil and heat through. Add the kale and sauté until wilted, about 4 minutes.
  6. Cook the gnocchi, Bring a large pot of water to the boil; add the salt and bring back to the boil. Pour in the gnocchi and cook until the gnocchi floats to the surface, about 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  7. Assemble. In a large mixing bowl, add the gnocchi and the cream sauce. Toss to coat, then add the kale and sausage and toss again. Pour the gnocchi mixture into an oven-safe skillet and top with Parmesan and breadcrumbs.
  8. Bake. Bake until the gnocchi is golden brown and bubbling, about 20 minutes.
  9. Serve. Top with crushed red pepper and serve in warmed pasta bowls.
baked sausage and kale gnocchi with garlic cream sauce closeup cwcr

Tips and Tricks for This Recipe

  • While you can make your own gnocchi for this recipe, I recommend using store-bought as a shortcut.
  • It only takes a few minutes to make the bechamel sauce though you can use store-bought Alfredo sauce as a shortcut.
  • Try substituting the kale with another green like Swiss chard, collard greens or broccoli rabe.
  • Substitute the potato gnocchi with cauliflower gnocchi for added vegetables.

Other Recipes to Try

Baked Sausage and Kale Gnocchi with Garlic Cream Sauce

Print Pin
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • ½ pound mild Italian sausage
  • 1 bunch Dinosaur or Tuscan kale, ribs removed and cut into a chiffonade (about 5 cups)
  • 1 pound potato gnocchi
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons Italian breadcrumbs
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

Instructions:

  • Place a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the butter and allow to melt. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the flour and whisk until combined.
  • Cook, whisking occasionally, for another 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk and continue to cook over medium-low heat, until the mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. Season with kosher salt and pepper to taste then remove the sauce from heat.
  • Preheat oven to 375°F (190ºC). Place a medium sauté pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat through. Remove the sausage from their casings and add to the pan.
  • Cook the sausage completely, using a wooden spoon to break it into pieces, about 10 minutes. Remove the sausage from the pan, reserving as much oil as possible in the pan and set aside in a medium bowl.
  • Return the pan to heat and add the remaining olive oil and heat through. Add the kale and sauté until wilted, about 4 minutes.
  • Bring a large pot of water to the boil; add the salt and bring back to the boil. Pour in the gnocchi and cook until the gnocchi floats to the surface, about 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the gnocchi and the cream sauce. Toss to coat, then add the kale and sausage and toss again. Pour the gnocchi mixture into an oven-safe skillet and top with Parmesan and breadcrumbs.
  • Bake until the gnocchi is golden brown and bubbling, about 20 minutes.
  • Top with crushed red pepper and serve in warmed pasta bowls.

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  1. 4 stars
    This was good and I learned a new technique with the bechamel. I think Next time I’ll use have the sauce recipe and mix it with my alfredo sauce recipe, I just needed a little more flavor

  2. This was so unbelievably delicious. Best enjoyed day of – unfortunately didn’t reheat very well.