Today is the last in the series of comfort food posts for Food Network’s Comfort Food Fest!
Recently my daughter Tori and I have been trying out some healthier recipes. This gnocchi pasta recipe will not leave you feeling wanting, but can be made using healthier and lighter ingredients. We saw this recipe on Eating Well and adapted it to our own liking. The creaminess of the beans and the soft pillows of wheat gnocchi give a wonderful comfort food feel and the fire roasted tomatoes and fresh spinach make it delicious. Leave off the cheese, and you will be completely guiltless! And the great news is, you can make it all in one skillet if you like so as not to have a huge cleanup!
Start out by drizzling a tablespoon or so of olive oil into a pan and heatit up over medium heat. Remember, that if you use a nonstick one, you won’t have to use near as much oil. I need a good large nonstick pan, but most of the time, my iron skillet works really great as a well seasoned iron skillet tends to do.
Cut up 2 mild Italian turkey sausages into bite sized pieces. I use this kind and it is pretty widely available in the meat aisle near the ground turkey.
If the skin comes off, that’s perfectly fine! Just throw it away!
I know I show three pieces in that picture, but I actually only used two. If you want to go meatless with this recipe, leave it out as the added cannelloni beans can provide the protein. The men in my house typically demand meat so I try to use leaner options like turkey sausage.
Once one side is browned on the sausage, go ahead and add in one package of prepared gnocchi (found in the dried pasta aisle in most larger grocery stores), preferably wheat. I can usually find wheat but alas, the store was out of it today so I settled for regular.
Dump it right into your skillet with your sausage.
Give it a stir. If your pan is too dry, drizzle in a bit more oil or you can even use cooking spray.
Continue to cook this until the sausage and gnocchi are browned, about 5 minutes.
I may have browned that a tad too much. Things happen ya know, when you’re taking photographs whilst cooking.
Now, at this point you can remove these to a plate and continue using the same skillet, but for time’s sake I used another skillet to make my sauce while the five minute cooking time was happening with the sausage and gnocchi.
Add in another tablespoon of olive oil.
Slice up one medium onion and add it right into the skillet over medium heat. Stir these around for 2 minutes or until they begin to soften a bit. Then chop up four cloves of garlic (or use a press like me!) Add in one cup of chicken or vegetable stock and allow the onions and garlic to simmer about 5 more minutes with the cover on the pan. Stir them a few times during this point and watch that the water doesn’t boil or burn out!
Next, remove the lid and add your spinach into the pot.
You’ll think it looks like a lot of spinach (6 cups), but it will cook WAY down after a minute or so.
Add in your beans. Mmmmmm…
Cannelloni beans are white and creamy and wonderfully delicious.
Add in your fire roasted tomatoes, which pack a little heat kick.
Also at this point, add in your salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Stir it and bring it to a simmer. Then spoon in your gnocchi and your sausage.
Stir this around. And if you’re trying to be super duper healthy, stop right here. You could just sprinkle some freshly shredded basil over the top and eat this and it would be fabulous.
But if you want just a little indulgence….chop up some fresh mozzarella.
I used about a cup. Spread out over the entire pan, this isn’t too bad really. Stir this in for another couple of minutes.
Look at the pitiful, malnutritioned, sad, little fluffball eyes begging up at you.
Stop it! I can’t handle the guilt!
Stop I say!
Give in because you’re a weak coward and because that little guy has me wrapped around his …paw. And so does the other one.
And then just before you serve it, you can add a little grated parmesan cheese. Or not…if you’re trying again to be super duper healthy.
Honestly, after tasting this, I could totally do without both cheeses.
The creamy beans provide a false richness that delights without them.
We ate this with a simple toasted and crusty loaf of hearty bread dipped in olive oil and it was delicious.
Even he thought so.
- 1 T Olive oil
- 1 16-ounce package wheat gnocci (located in pasta aisle)
- 2 links Italian Turkey sausage, sliced
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 c. chicken or vegetable stock
- 6 cups fresh spinach, chopped
- 1 15-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
- 1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed
- 1 T. Italian spice
- ½ t. salt
- ¼ t. pepper
- 1 c. fresh mozerella, cubed
- ¼ cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
- Optional garnish: ¼ c. basil, chiffonade
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
- Add gnocchi and sausage and cook, stirring often, until gnocchi plumps and both are browning, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Transfer to a bowl.Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and onion to the pan and cook, stirring, over medium heat, for 2 minutes.
- Stir in garlic and water. Cover and cook until the onion is soft, 4 to 6 minutes.
- Add spinach and cook, stirring, until starting to wilt, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Stir in tomatoes, beans, salt, pepper and Italian spice and bring to a simmer.
- Stir in the gnocchi and sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan.
- Cover and cook until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling, about 3 minutes.
- Serve in skillet and sprinkle with fresh basil just before serving.
See what other wonderful food bloggers are posting about Comfort Food Pasta today!
The Cultural Dish: Pasta Carbonara
The Sensitive Epicure: Individual Goat Cheese Mac & Cheese (Gluten-Free, Lactose-Free)
Feed Me Phoebe: Green Eggs and Ham: Pasta Carbonara With Zucchini and Crispy Prosciutto
Red or Green?: Spicy Italian Sausage and Peppers Pasta
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Pasta With Apple-Sage Sausage, White Beans and Greens
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: A Healthier Crock-Pot Meat Lovers Pasta Sauce
The Heritage Cook: Macaroni and Cheese for Everyone
Devour: Low-Key Lasagna
Virtually Homemade: Gluten-Free Macaroni and Cheese With Crispy Bacon
Cooking With Elise: Scallops and Linguini
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Swiss Chard Lasagna
And Love It Too: Baked Spaghetti With Zucchini Noodles
FN Dish: The Most Satisfying Pasta Dishes