With only a single skillet needed, this filling dish of sausage, kale, and butternut squash gnocchi is on the table in just 30 minutes. Tender butternut squash contrasts perfectly with hot Italian sausage, while crisp kale and fresh herbs complete the picture. Soft pillows of gnocchi make this hearty pasta dish ideal for cool fall evenings!
What is gnocchi?
Gnocchi is a type of Italian pasta made from boiled potatoes, eggs, and flour that are rolled into balls and lightly cooked. They are the Italian version of mini dumplings! Gnocchi can be either savory or sweet, but the most common type is savory.
Today, gnocchi is a staple in Italian cuisine and is enjoyed all over the world. You’ll often find this little round pasta at your favorite Italian restaurant. In this recipe, I’ve combined gnocchi with flavorful Italian sausage, kale, and butternut squash for a delicious 30-minute dish that’s sure to be a hit!
Little random trivia for you – the word gnocchi in Italian means “lumps.” And since they are made from potatoes, they are considered dumplings more than pasta.
Why this butternut squash gnocchi recipe works
- Dicing the butternut squash allows the squash to cook quickly and become perfectly tender.
- Using shelf-stable store-bought gnocchi and broth allows this dish to be cooked in one skillet; no need for boiling the gnocchi separately.
- The hot Italian sausage complements the butternut squash for a spicy and sweet bite.
- The lacinato kale is packed with nutrients.
- Using fresh sage and thyme elevates the fall flavors in this dish.
Using fresh ingredients will give you the best flavors and textures. Here’s what you’ll need from the store before you begin making this dish:
- Italian sausage (hot or mild)
- Olive oil
- Unsalted butter
- Butternut squash (peeled, seeds removed and diced)
- Freshly chopped herbs (sage and thyme)
- Red pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper
- Minced shallot and garlic
- Gnocchi (premade)
- Chicken broth
- Freshly grated parmesan
How to prepare the butternut squash
- Cut butternut squash in the middle using a sharp chef’s knife. If the squash is slippery, use a towel to secure it.
- Cut the squash down the middle to expose the seeds. Use a spoon to scoop the seeds and pulp out of the butternut squash and discard.
- Slice the squash into ½-inch slices.
- Dice the squash.
Prepare the kale
- For this recipe, I use lacinato kale (a.k.a. dinosaur or Tuscan kale). I prefer using lacinato kale in this recipe as opposed to curly or red kale because it is more tender with a short cooking time.
- Using a pairing knife, cut alongside the thick stem in the center to remove.
- Chop kale.
In a bowl of water, massage kale with your fingers for 2-3 minutes. This will help tenderize the kale!
How to cook sausage gnocchi
Now let’s look closer at how to make this incredibly delicious skillet meal.
Brown the sausage
As you cook, break the sausage into smaller crumbles. Use a slotted spoon to remove and set aside (leaving the flavored oil behind).
For this recipe, I use hot Italian sausage, but you can also use mild Italian sausage if you want less heat. Most grocery stores sell packaged or loose Italian sausage, but you can also buy the raw links and cut/remove the skin prior to cooking.
Add squash and shallot
- After removing the Italian sausage, add 2 tablespoons of butter and allow it to melt.
- Add in the diced butternut squash, fresh thyme, and fresh sage.
- Next, sprinkle kosher salt, black pepper, and optional red pepper flakes. Allow the squash to cook for 4 minutes.
- Minced shallot and garlic are added and sautéd for 1 minute until fragrant.
Combine and cook everything
Now you’re ready to add the kale and all the other ingredients into the pot and cook it together!
- Add the chopped kale to the butternut squash and mix to combine, the kale will begin to soften as it sautés.
- Add in the crumbled Italian sausage and the premade gnocchi.
- Mix to combine all the ingredients.
- Pour in 1 cup of chicken broth and bring to a gentle boil.
- Cover the pan with a lid and allow the gnocchi to cook for 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes and re-covering.
After the 10 minutes have elapsed, taste the gnocchi and see if it is cooked through.
Serve and enjoy!
Once the gnocchi is cooked through, top with freshly grated parmesan and optional red pepper flakes.
This tastes best when you serve it fresh from the skillet.
How to store leftover gnocchi
Store this dish in an airtight container inside your fridge, and it will stay fresh for up to four days. You can also freeze it by letting the dish cool, then placing it in a freezer-safe bag.
To thaw, place the frozen gnocchi in the refrigerator overnight. When you’re ready to eat, you can reheat them in the microwave or oven at 350°F for 20 minutes or until they’re heated through.
For the web story version of this recipe, click here!
Looking for other squash recipes?
- Squash Skillet Lasagna
- Stuffed Acorn Squash
- Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
- Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Soup
- Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
Made this recipe and loved it? Leave a star rating below!
Butternut Squash, Sausage, and Kale Gnocchi
- 1 pound hot Italian sausage or mild (see note)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 small butternut squash peeled, seeds removed, diced (about 2 ½ cups) (see note)
- 1 tablespoon freshly chopped sage leaves
- ½ tablespoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes optional plus more for serving
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons minced shallot
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 bunch lacinato kale dinosaur/Tuscan, stem removed, chopped (3 cups) (see note)
- 1 pound shelf stable gnocchi
- 1 cup chicken broth
- Freshly grated parmesan to serve
- In a dutch oven or high walled skillet over medium/high heat, add 3 tbsp olive oil. Add in Italian sausage and fully cook through, breaking sausage into crumbled as it cooks. Using a slotted spoon, remove sausage and set aside in a bowl, leaving flavored olive oil behind.
- Lower heat to medium and add 2 tbsp butter. Once melted, add in diced butternut squash, fresh thyme, fresh sage, kosher salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Sauté for 4 minutes. Add in the minced shallot and minced garlic and sauté an additional minute.
- Next, add in chopped kale, stir to combine, add back in the Italian sausage, followed by the gnocchi and mix all the ingredients. Pour in the chicken broth and allow to come to a gentle boil. Lower the heat to low and cover.
- Allow the gnocchi to cook for 8 minutes, stirring every few minutes and recovering, to allow the gnocchi to cook evenly. After the 8 minutes, taste to see gnocchi is fully cooked through. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Serve with freshly grated parmesan and optional red pepper flakes. Enjoy!
- For this recipe I use hot Italian sausage, but you can also use mild Italian sausage if you want less heat. Most grocery stores sell packaged or loose Italian sausage, but you can also buy the raw links and cut/remove the skin prior to cooking.
- Cut butternut squash in the middle using a sharp chef’s knife. If the squash is slippery, use a towel to secure. Cut the squash down the middle to expose the seeds. Use a spoon to scoop the seeds and pulp out of the butternut squash, discard. Slice the squash into ½ inch slices. Dice the squash. See in-post for photos.
- For this recipe I use lacinato kale (a.k.a. dinosaur or Tuscan kale). I prefer using lacinato kale in this recipe as opposed to curly or red kale, because it is more tender with a short cooking time. Using a pairing knife, cut alongside the thick stem in the center to remove. Chop kale. In a bowl of water, massage kale with your fingers for 2-3 minutes. This will help tenderize the kale.
- Store in airtight container in fridge for up to 4 days.
- You can also freeze by allowing the dish to cool, placing in freezer safe bag, and freezing. To thaw, place in refrigerator overnight.
- You can microwave or heat in oven at 350F for 20 minutes or until gnocchi is heated through.
Leave a Reply