Baked Gnocchi

baked gnocchi with tomato sauce and sausage in a black skillet topped with melted mozzarella cheese
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A big pan of pillowy gnocchi surrounded by bubbling pools of mozzarella melting into milky, creamy ricotta cheese and herby tomato sauce—one whiff of this heavenly baked gnocchi is enough to silence the ravenous masses. Just don’t count on having leftovers. 

Happy Baked Gnocchi Season to You

Instead of calling it something depressing like “back-to-school” season, we propose calling this time of year “baked gnocchi season” instead. Conjuring up images of cozy family dinners around a glowing table, it’s just the antidote our kids need as they stare down the coming year. Whatever stresses their school days may hold—and hopefully they’ll hold excitiments, achievements, and new friends, too—you can at least promise them that each day will end with a warm, relaxed family dinner. And with this super quick and easy baked gnocchi recipe in your repertoire, that’s a new school year promise you can definitely keep. 

baked gnocchi with tomato sauce and sausage in a black skillet topped with melted mozzarella cheese

Quick, Cheesy, Easy Baked Gnocchi is Just a Few Ingredients Away. 

A skillet full of melty, bubbly, carb-y comfort is just what the dreary, drizzly weeknights ahead need to perk them up, and our baked gnocchi recipe is all of those things. All you need is: 

  • Italian sausage. Typically seasoned with big flavors like garlic, parsley, oregano, and fennel seed, ground Italian sausage is a powerhouse ingredient here—all you have to do is brown it a little before baking the gnocchi. You can use spicy or mild—whatever you prefer. 
  • Store-bought gnocchi. Sure, you could make potato gnocchi from scratch. But with good store-bought versions widely available, there’s really no need. 
  • Whole-milk ricotta. Creamy, milky ricotta cheese makes this one-pan dinner truly rich and indulgent. 
  • Fennel seed. A little extra fennel seed to make this classic Italian-American baked pasta dish taste spot-on. 
  • A jar of marinara sauce. Know when to make your own and when to just buy an ingredient! When a short-cut like this is what makes it so we can get a home-cooked dinner on the table rather than resorting to take-out, we say YAY for short cuts. 
  • Mozzarella. You can use fresh or grated mozzarella cheese, whatever you prefer. Grated mozzarella is a better melting cheese than fresh, but fresh mozzarella will still get bubbly and delicious—both add a lovely savory, milkyness to the finished dish.
  • Fresh parsley. A sprinkling of fresh herbs brightens up this dish and adds an extra homemade touch to this easy gnocchi recipe.

A Baked Gnocchi Recipe That’s More Like a “Recipe”.

The best gnocchi recipe ever—which obviously is this gnocchi recipe—is all about keeping it simple. We know that gnocchi gets along really well with tomato sauce and cheese, and we know that baked pasta dishes are always a big hit. All we did was take that knowledge and put it together to make this easy baked gnocchi recipe. We say it’s a “recipe” because it’s really flexible and adaptable. Give it a kick by using hot Italian sausage and a spicy marinara sauce, or keep it mild with sweet Italian sausage and herby marinara sauce.

Once you’ve bought your ingredients, all you really need to do is assemble them in a skillet and bake! Here’s how to make baked gnocchi: 

  1. Sauté the Italian sausage until it’s brown, crispy and pretty well cooked through. It’ll bake a little more in the oven, but since it’s pork you don’t want to risk undercooking it. 
  2. Assemble! Fill a large, oven-proof skillet with the marinara sauce, dollops of ricotta, gnocchi, cooked sausage, fennel and salt. Stir to combine. 
  3. Bake! Top with sliced fresh or grated mozzarella and bake until bubbly, gooey, melty perfection is achieved. 
baked gnocchi with tomato sauce and sausage in a black skillet topped with melted mozzarella cheese

Tools You’ll Need 

  • This recipe is all about having the right pan—a large, oven-proof skillet is your baked gnocchi BFF.
  • A spoon for sautéing, scooping, stirring and serving.

Other Baked Pasta Recipes To Try: 

Because cheesy, baked carbs are the king of comfort foods, and we all need a little edible hug sometimes. Easy to make ahead, and a meal unto themselves, these baked pasta recipes are keepers:

Good Baked Gnocchi? Or Best Baked Gnocchi Ever? 

We’re a little partial, but we really do think this recipe checks all the boxes—crowd-pleasing, fast, easy, delicious. If you give it a try, let us know! Snap a photo of your finished baked gnocchi and maybe even a video of the beautiful people you feed it to. Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

Baked Gnocchi

Serves 8

Ingredients

1 lb ground Italian sausage
2 1 lb packages gnocchi
8 oz ricotta
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 large jar (25.5 oz) marinara sauce
8 oz mozzarella grated (block or fresh)
2 tbsp fresh parsley

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. In a large ovenproof skillet, brown Italian sausage over medium/high heat until it's cooked through. Remove the pan from heat.
  3. Add the marinara sauce, ricotta, uncooked gnocchi, fennel seed and salt to the pan with the cooked sausage, and stir gently until the gnocchi is coated with the sauce and the sausage is well-distributed. Top with mozzarella and bake on center rack for 30 minutes (or until gnocchi is tender).
  4. Top finished baked gnocchi with a sprinkling of fresh parsley and serve warm.