Baked gnocchi with meatballs

There is cold white rain falling from the sky. I think it’s called snow. 

It’s turning black cabs into dalmatians. It gets in my eyes when I walk and sticks to the backs of my gloves. It’s driven me to giggle like a three year old chasing bubbles. It’s also forced me to wear tights under my jeans and feel like an over stuffed sausage.

This is the kind of weather that makes me want to shut the door and play Robert Downey Junior’s  ‘River‘ on continual loop. It makes me want to open a bottle of red wine and turn on the oven.

Dinner is something foraged from the scraps in the fridge and the spinsters in the cupboard. It’s going to be carb loaden and squishy. It’s going to warm me from the inside out.

There’s going to be some fat and some cheese. There’s going to be a touch of chilli and  a salad on the side, so I feel vaguely virtuous.

If a supper of baked gnocchi with sausage and mozzarella can’t help gird my lily white thighs from this cold, I’m not sure what can.

And when I’m forced to buy looser jeans, I’m just going to blame it on the thickness of my tights.

Baked gnocchi with tomato, mozarella and pork meatballs

Serves 4 with salad and bread. Serves 2 if one is a very hungry one.

1 lasagne dish. 1 saucepan or casserole dish.


500 grams of store bought gnocchi (you could make your own, but that’s not really what this supper is about)
3 pork sausages
1 red onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of dried chilli flakes
1 can of cherry tomatoes
1x 350 gram ‘break in case of emergency’ bottle of tomato pasta sauce from the back of the cupboard (or another can of cherry tomatoes).
1 cup of red wine (the rest of the bottle will go pretty well with dinner)
Cheese (a big ball of buffalo mozzarella the size of an orange would be best, but if not then a handful of frozen shredded mozarella, or goats cheese or whatever you have on hand).
Extra parmesan for the top.

Spinster scraps from the pantry

Here’s how we roll

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C
2. Split the bellies of the sausages and pull the meat out of the casings. Divide each sausage into five mini meatballs. Fry them in a tablespoon of olive oil.

Sausages minus their casings- instant meatballs

3. Chop the onion and the garlic up into a tiny dice. Sautee them in the same pan as the sausages. When they’re translucent add the tin of tomatoes, the bottle of pasta sauce, the chilli and the cup of red wine.
4. Cook the red sauce and tomatoes for 5 minutes until it’s bubbling and burping in the pot.
5. Empty the gnocchi into a layer on the lasagne dish. Pour the tomato sauce and the meatballs over the top. Give it a gentle stir and nudge to mix it all about. The combined heat of the sauce and the oven will cook the gnocchi, in the same way the sauce does in a lasagne.
6. Break the mozarella over the top. Add some wafts of parmesan.

7. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the cheese is brown and the gnocchi are as squishy as a baby’s cheek.

Eat with a green salad and some red wine while watching the snow come down. Be sure to occasionally exclaim- “it’s snowing!”.

NB, fresh basil or oregano over the top would also be lovely. If you didn’t have it on hand you could also substitute the sausages for lardons, bits of bacon eggplant or mushrooms.

For other snow-inspired recipes see what else is being collected over at A slice of Cherry Pie’s Snow Day Bakeoff

  1. Now, that is perfect food for snowy days!

  2. Wow this is a great resource.. I’m enjoying it.. good article

  3. What a beautiful post! So magical:) and such a tasty recipe to go along side…gnocchi..warms the stomach:)

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