This baked gnocchi dish delivers big flavor in just 30 minutes! Sausage and mushrooms paired with little pillows of gnocchi make for a hearty weeknight dinner while marinara and a swirl of pesto create a rich and decadent sauce. Make this skillet for dinner and your family will think you’re a rockstar!
How to make this baked gnocchi skillet
The thing I love most about this baked gnocchi dish is that you just keep layering the flavors in the skillet. Aside from boiling the gnocchi in a separate pot, most of the work is done right in your deep skillet. While it’s not super non-stick, I do love my Lodge blue enamel skillet for dishes like this that get finished in the hot oven.
You’ll start by sautéing your base flavors of onion and mushroom while also browning your sausage. For this recipe, I chose an organic chicken sausage from Trader Joe’s that we love, but any sweet or hot Italian sausage would do. Or leave it out to keep it vegetarian!
While you’re sautéing those ingredients, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add your gnocchi. Boil for roughly 3-5 minutes, or until the gnocchi float to the top. Then drain well and rinse lightly with cold water to keep from clumping together.
Add your minced garlic to the skillet along with some salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute, then add a big pile of fresh spinach. This will cook down quickly. Add your gnocchi and marinara sauce and stir well to combine. Lastly, add a beautiful swirl of pesto and some sliced mozzarella.
ingredients and substitutions
- Gnocchi-You can find gnocchi with other fresh pasta at most grocery stores. Sometimes it will be in the refrigerated section, and sometimes it’s on the shelf. If you don’t have gnocchi, you can sub out for any pasta shape like rotini or penne.
- Marinara-I opt for jarred marinara in order to keep this recipe weeknight friendly and get it on the table in 30 minutes, but if you prefer homemade red sauce then that would be fantastic! My all time favorite jarred marinara is from the brand Rao’s.
- Pesto-Like the marinara, I will often buy premade pesto from the store to help this dish come together quickly. When I’m onto of my meal prep game I will often freeze homemade pesto in an ice cup tray to grab at a moments notice.
- Spinach-I love fresh spinach in this dish, but frozen would also work if that’s all you have! Just be sure to squeeze out all the excess water so it doesn’t thin your sauce. Kale or Swiss chard would be great substitutions if you have those on hand.
- Sausage-I like a light chicken sausage but any Italian sweet or hot pork sausage would be great. You can also leave it out all together to keep it vegetarian and add some eggplant instead. Now I’m craving that…
- Mozzarella-You’ll want to look for the balls of mozzarella that aren’t packed in water because they will hold up better in the high heat of the oven without burning. You can absolutely also use shredded mozzarella.
What kind of gnocchi will work in this dish?
I use a shelf stable gnocchi that I find with the jarred tomato sauce at my grocery store, but you can also often find it with the fresh pasta and sauces in the refrigerated section. If you have frozen gnocchi on hand, you will want to prepare it according to the directions on the packaging.
Some require you to defrost in the microwave first, boil, pan fry or even roast in the oven first. You will not want to add frozen gnocchi directly to the skillet and toss with the other ingredients.
Kristin at Iowa Girl Eats made a great resource on the various methods for cooking your gnocchi for optimal results. Cauliflower gnocchi is a favorite for a lot of people and it works beautifully in this recipe.
If you love a quick and easy meal with a healthy twist like this baked gnocchi, be sure to check out these other weeknight favorites!
Sausage and Mushroom Baked Gnocchi
- 1 lb fresh gnocchi
- 1/2 lb sausage, sliced into rounds
- 1 1/2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 3 tbsp avocado oil or other high heat oil
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 5 cups fresh spinach
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- 1/4 cup pesto
- 1/2 ball of mozzarella, about 4 oz or 6 big slices
- 2 tbsp sliced basil for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the gnocchi for 3-5 minutes or until they start to float to the surface. Drain well and rinse lightly with water to keep from clumping together.
- In the meantime in a deep skillet, heat 3 tbsp of avocado oil over medium heat. Add the sliced sausage, mushrooms and onion to the pan and cook until sausage starts to brown and mushrooms and onion soften, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add kosher salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to the sausage mixture. Add the minced garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add your spinach and cook until soft, about 1 minute longer. Then add your cooked gnocchi and marinara sauce and stir to combine. Add a swirl or blobs of pesto to the top and then top with your sliced marinara.
- Bake in the 400 degree oven for 10-12 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted. Serve hot.
- If you’re not using fresh gnocchi, cook according to the directions on the packaging.
- You can substitute shredded mozzarella for sliced.