Have you ever traveled to another country and eaten something AMAZING? It’s not an uncommon thing, so that one time I went to Italy with my best friend, we ate some fantastic food (as you can imagine). The last dinner we had on that trip was in this small hotel we stayed in for the night–we were in Milan–and it was by far, the best thing we ate on that trip: cheese gnocchi. There was a number in front of the “cheese” but for the life of me I can’t remember how many cheeses they put in that sauce. I want to say it was more than four but less than thirteen. Regardless, it was AMAZEBALLS.
Unfortunately, this isn’t a recipe that I’ve come up with to copy that dinner in Milan, but it is a gnocchi recipe that I came up with as a result. What happened was, I was visiting another close friend and staying at her parents house. Her mom is a really good cook and there is always good food in their house. However, one night when I was there, her mom did one of these: “Jenn’s here, she can cook!” No pressure.
I honestly had no clue what to make, so we went to Publix and got inspired. Gnocchi with Italian sausage, spinach and creamy parmesan sauce was the result. Turned out to be a big hit so I’ve been making and tweaking it every since. It’s quick and easy, filling, flavorful and not totally unhealthy.
Gnocchi with Italian Sausage, Spinach and Parmesan Cream Sauce
- 2 packages Gnocchi
- 1 cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
- 1 cup Half and Half
- 1 cup Milk
- 3 tbs Butter
- 3 tbs All-Purpose Flour
- 2 tsp Salt & Pepper
- 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 2 tbs Caramelized Onion Sugar (totally optional, I get mine at the Spice & Tea Exchange and it makes a world of difference in the sauce)
- Fresh Baby Spinach
- 1 package Italian Sausage
- In a saucepan over medium low heat, melt the Butter and whisk in the Flour to make a roux. Gradually whisk in 1/2 cup Half and Half, Salt and Peppers, and Caramelized Onion Sugar.
- Once the sugar is dissolved, add the Parmesan Cheese, stirring so that it melts thoroughly into the roux mixture. Pour in the remaining Half and Half stirring continually. The sauce should be pretty thick at this point.
- Increase the heat slightly and stir in the milk. Once the sauce is hot to the touch, reduce the heat to low and allow to set while you prepare the rest, stirring occasionally to avoid clumping.
- Remove the sausage from its casing and cook completely in a pan over medium heat.
- Cook the gnocchi according to package instructions (TIP: Don’t overcook–gnocchi cooks fast, it’s done when they start floating to the top).
- Plate: Fresh Spinach, gnocchi, sausage, sauce & sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese. Enjoy!