Italian Sausage Butternut Squash Gnocchi

I can’t possibly be the only one to be in shock that next week is the week of Thanksgiving! I mean, how did that happen?! Wasn’t it just Halloween? Either way, I can’t deny that I’m absolutely thrilled for the holiday season to arrive.

The past couple months have been a whirlwind and I guess I shouldn’t expect it to slow down with the holidays soon upon us. Just in the past month, though, I’ve been on one plane trip to Waco, TX, and three different car trips to Minneapolis, Illinois, and this past weekend to Iowa. Whew!

Each trip was so sweet and fun in their own way. I’m glad we had the chance to visit all these places this fall before we hunker down for another Midwest winter and practically don’t leave to go anywhere for 3 months straight. Ha!

Because our weekends have been so full, it helps having a simple meal plan ready for the week ahead. (If you want to learn more about how I meal plan, check out this post and this one!) I look for recipes that I know are quick to throw together after a long day at work, don’t involve a bunch of brain power (I’ve used it all during the day), and don’t use all my pots and pans in the process(Philip greatly appreciates this as he is our dishwasher of the family!).

Enter in: Italian Sausage Butternut Squash Gnocchi!

This recipe is a seasonal favorite! For one, it only uses one pan. But it also has an amazing, rich, deep flavor from the Italian turkey sausage and all the warm spices used to season the butternut squash. It’s seriously so good and flavorful!

The gnocchi adds a soft texture to the dish and leaves even the hungriest family member satisfied. If you don’t have gnocchi on hand, I think pasta would work out great, too. I included the directions for using pasta, although I haven’t personally tried that yet.

Don’t leave out the Parmesan; it adds a great nutty flavor to the dish and I personally loved the little bit of heat the crushed red pepper flakes provided. Totally optional, but we thought it added to the overall dish!

Whether your weekends are looking as busy as ours or your weeknights are getting just as filled up, this recipe is the perfect go-to that you can depend on all winter long. :) Enjoy!

Italian Sausage Butternut Squash Gnocchi

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground sweet Italian turkey sausage (removed from casings if needed)
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 4 cups total)
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 lb potato gnocchi (or 1 lb rotini pasta noodles)
  • 5 ounces loosely packed baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Directions:

1. Add the sausage to a medium-large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, breaking apart the meat, until it is browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a plate.

2. Reduce the skillet heat to medium. Add the butter and olive oil to the skillet. Once melted, add the squash and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender and golden, about 10 minutes (the smaller the butternut squash cubes, the faster it will cook for you). If the pan starts to get too dry and the squash starts to stick to the pan, add a little bit of the chicken broth to loosen up the squash from the pan. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, sage, and nutmeg. Continue cooking until the garlic is softened and fragrant, about 1 additional minute.

3. Add the chicken broth and gnocchi to the skillet. Increase the heat to medium-high. Stir to coat the gnocchi. If using pasta, add the pasta instead, making sure the pasta is completely covered with liquid (you may need to add additional water to the skillet). Cook, covered, until the gnocchi or pasta is just tender, about 5 minutes (about 10 minutes for the pasta). Uncover and stir in the sausage. Stir in the spinach a few handfuls at a time, allowing it to wilt. Sprinkle with Parmesan and season to taste with additional salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.

Adapted from: Well Plated

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