This is how you should eat all the time, I’m telling you.
This time of year is my absolute favorite for local food. I’m kind of a wench about eating seasonally in that I only believe in it in the warm months. In the winter I’m like I STILL WANT TOMATOES THOUGH so….I’m working on it. Anyway, our local farmer’s market just opened a few weeks ago, so we’ve been celebrating by keeping lots of fun produce in the fridge and making up new meals with it.
Then last week I remembered that I had a package of local spicy sausage in the freezer and THIS was born. Spicy sausage, dark kale, garlic and tomatoes, all making a little snuggly bed under some toasty gnocchi. You could use whole wheat for even more nutrition, but that might just be showing off. I kept this super simple, no white wine, no stock, just really basic flavors because the ingredients I started with were so flavorful. If there was ever a time to buy moderately-overpriced-yet-local sausage this would definitely be it.
You need lots’o kale, sausage, garlic, crushed red pepper, whole canned tomatoes, gnocchi, rosemary (not pictured, sorry) and butter. So simple, huge flavors – your new fav way to cook.
The method here is that we make the sauce, brown the gnocchi, and EAT. It’s super quick. First, heat a large skillet to medium-high heat and add the sausage. You can add the sausage when the skillet is cold, it’ll warm slowly and brown that way. Let the sausage sizzle and brown, and break it up into little bits with a spoon as you go.
While the sausage is working, take the stems out of the kale using your fingers, just tear the leaves of the kale away from the stem.
Then, cut the kale into small pieces and mince the garlic. No rhyme or reason here with cutting up the kale, just run your knife through the pile of leaves a few times.
When the sausage is browned and cooked through, add the garlic and rosemary to the skillet. Let it cook for just a minute.
Then add all the kale. You might need to stir a few handfuls in at a time to not overwhelm your pan, but it’ll wilt quickly and all fit eventually.
When the kale is in the skillet, add the tomatoes and their juices. I use whole tomatoes and crush them in my hands as I put them in; this is my favorite “shape” of canned tomato because I think pieces of whole tomato break down better than diced, which makes no sense, so use diced tomatoes if you’d like.
OMG, sauce of my dreams. It’s done! All we do now is let it simmer GENTLY, not boil, while you prepare the gnocchi.
For that, boil the gnocchi to package directions, then drain it. In a separate large skillet, melt the butter.
Now, we want the butter to brown before we add the gnocchi. It’ll melt in the bottom of the skillet and foam. When that happens, swirl the butter around until you see brown bits on the bottom of the skillet.
Then add the boiled gnocchi!
Toss it around in the brown butter with a sprinkle of salt and pepper for just a minute or two to toast the gnocchi just a leeeetle bit.
Last, taste the sauce and add salt and crushed red pepper to your heart’s content. I serve the sauce on the bottom of a plate here, top it with some gnocchi and extra parm shards because why not, you know? And toasty bread never hurt anything.
I can’t tell you how yummy this was, and how gratifying that is on a recipe where the ingredient list is so short and sweet. Tomatoes + garlic + sausage + kale is one of those combos that just does it for me, and it was all I could do to save enough of this actual meal for dinner and not eat it all mid-afternoon when I was taking these pictures.
Tuesday dinner = done.
- 1 pound bulk spicy sausage
- 1 large bunch kale, stems removed and chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh or dried rosemary leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
- salt, as needed
- 28 ounces canned whole tomatoes in their juices
- 12 ounces prepared gnocchi
- 3 tablespoons butter
- salt and pepper
- parmesan, optional, for serving
- For the sauce, add the sausage to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the sausage, breaking up with a spoon as you go, for 7-10 minutes until browned, crumbly, and cooked through.
- To the sausage, add the garlic, rosemary, crushed red pepper, and a sprinkle of salt. Stir into the sausage for 1 minute.
- Add the chopped kale and stir to wilt the kale into the sausage mixture. Then, add the tomatoes and their juices, crushing the tomatoes in your hand as you add them. Stir the sauce together and taste; add salt or more crushed red pepper to your preference. Let the sauce simmer over medium-low while you prepare the gnocchi.
- While the sauce simmers, boil the gnocchi to package directions and drain. In a separate skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. When the butter foams, swirl it in the pan until brown bits form on the bottom of the skillet, then add the gnocchi with salt and pepper. Toss the gnocchi for 3 minutes in the browned butter.
- To serve, make a bed of the sausage sauce. Top with a mound of gnocchi and some parmesan, if you'd like. Devour immediately.