Quick Comfort Food

I often think of comfort food as what I make in fall and winter. There's less to do outside and the long-simmering, baking, and roasting items leave the nest delightfully warm. But in summer, that's the last thing I want and I don't have time to babysit dinner. So why not enjoy amazing comfort food that's done in about a half hour and only involves the stovetop and (if desired) a quick pause under the broiler:

What makes this comfort food? For me, the combination of gnocchi and sausage is warm, filling, and the Italian version of meat and potatoes that's so common in the Midwest. Gnocchi is a soft, pasta-like dumpling that is wonderful when fried or slowly simmered in sauces. In this dish, it gets both treatments and the result is nothing less than stellar. Add tender Italian sausage and an herb-infused sauce and you'll be dishing this up year round, too.

Alongside this dish, you could serve a green salad or chunks of crusty bread. Honestly, I just poured myself a glass of red wine and sat around the dinner table sharing stories of our day with my family. After all, that is what comfort food is really all about, isn't it?

Sausage & Gnocchi Skillet

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb. gnocchi
  • 12 ounces Italian sausages, casings removed
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can diced roasted tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 c. half & half
  • 1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the gnocchi and cook, stirring frequently, for about 7-8 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from pan. Add the sausage to the skillet, and cook until no longer pink.

Preheat the broiler. (You can also skip this step and just let the cheese melt on top of the warm skillet. The cheese will be less bubbly, but equally delicious.)

Add the diced tomatoes, garlic, basil, oregano, salt and pepper to the pan. Bring to a simmer. Return the gnocchi to the pan. Stir in the half & half, and cook a few minutes more, until everything is heated through.

Top with the Parmesan cheese. Place the skillet under the broiler for about 2 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

  • Yields: 4-6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes

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