Gnocchi with Spicy + Sweet Sausage in a Calabrian Chili Pomodoro Sauce
Calabrian chilies are kind of having a moment right now. I think it's because Bobby Flay mentions them on every episode of Beat Bobby Flay, but who knows. They're pretty small in stature, but these guys pack a punch with some spicy-sweet flavor. You can often find them either near the pickled stuff or in the "international" section of the grocery store, but they are definitely worth a look while you're wandering the aisles.
This Calabrian Chili Pomodoro Sauce seriously hits the spot, guys. It's sooooo good. It's a little spicy, but it's also a little sweet. All about that balance, right? I personally love a spicy red sauce with my pasta. I find that it just makes everything warmer and cozier - how all good pasta dishes should be. Pairing it with gnocchi and sausage not only makes for a wonderfully delicious meal, but it's sure to have you reaching for seconds!
Gnocchi with Spicy + Sweet Sausage
in a Calabrian Chili Pomodoro Sauce
Prep Time: 1 hour 20 minutes (includes gnocchi cook and prep time)
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
1lb sausage (1/2 lb spicy + 1/2 lb sweet)
1 (28 oz) can San Marzano Tomatoes, whole or diced
1/4 cup olive oil
Fresh Herbs: 2 rosemary sprigs, 2 basil leaves, 3 thyme sprigs, 4 oregano sprigs
1/2 sweet onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Calabrian Chilies, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flake
1/2-1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 Cup Water
1/2lb fresh mozzarella, torn into pieces
5 basil leaves, diced into thin strips
2 Tbsp parmesan cheese
Prepare your oven. Place the top rack towards the top of the oven, but make sure to leave enough room for a cooking dish.
Heat the oil in a large cooking pan over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the fresh herbs. Cook until crispy and remove. Reserve the herbs, drying them on a paper towel.
Add onion to the oil. Cook until tender and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic. Saute until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Do not burn the garlic!
Add red pepper flakes and Calabrian Chilis. Saute for 1-2 minutes.
Add tomatoes, 1/2 tsp of salt, black pepper, honey and 1/2 cup of water. Stir to combine.
Taking the reserved fresh, crispy herbs, finely chop and add 1 tbsp to the sauce. Stir to combine.
Simmer the sauce for about 25 minutes. Stir every so often.
While the sauce is simmering, cook the sausage. Once browned and cooked through, remove from heat and place on paper towels to drain the excess oil. Set aside.
Blend the sauce together until smooth. If using an immersion blender, this can done in the cooking pan. If using a regular blender, carefully ladle the sauce into the blender, blend, and then add the sauce back into the cooking pan. Lower the heat level to keep the sauce warm.
Add the sausage to the sauce and thoroughly combine. Taste and add remaining 1/2 tsp of salt if necessary.
Preheat the oven to a high broil.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add salt. Cook gnocchi. Once gnocchi is floating, use a slotted spoon and add directly to the sauce. Stir to thoroughly combine.
Pour the sauce, gnocchi and sausage into a large baking dish. Top with fresh mozzarella and drizzle a little olive oil over the top.
Place on the top rack of the oven and broil for about 3-5 minutes, checking to make sure the cheese doesn't burn. It should be a beautiful golden brown.
Remove and top with fresh basil and grated Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately and enjoy!