I am ashamed to admit that I’m new to gnocchi. It never sounded appealing to me and I shrugged it off as some sort of Food Network fad for people who have too much time on their hands.

Our family was invited to some friends’ house for dinner last year and gnocchi soup was on the menu. I was hesitant to try it due to the fact that its appearance reminded me of a sea creature and the texture sounded less than appealing. But, the joke was on me. I was hooked after that first bite…a bite that started an obsession.

After trying every variety Trader Joe’s had to offer and everything I could find at my local supermarket, I broke down and decided to challenge myself by making homemade gnocchi. TV chefs make it look so easy, but I was pleasantly surprised at exactly how simple it was. We’ve enjoyed them fried, seared in butter, boiled with sauce, made with sweet potatoes, made with spinach…the possibilities are endless when it comes to gnocchi.

So what exactly is gnocchi? Gnocchi is a traditional Italian pasta, often referred to as a potato dumpling. The dough is rolled out before it is cut into small pieces and pressed with a fork or a cheese grater to make ridges or cut into little lumps. The shapes and flavors of gnocchi vary across different cultures.

In the recipe below, I used classic potato gnocchi that I purchased at our local supermarket in place of traditional lasagna noodles to create a simple, flavorful skillet lasagna. I cooked it on my Traeger grill to add some smokey flavor and doubt that I will ever cook lasagna in my home oven again. The result was so good that my kids scraped every last bite out of the skillet. Give it a try and let us know how you like it!

Country Rebel Recipes


  • Cook Time: 30 min
  • Persons: 8
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound hot ground sausage
  • 1/2 cup diced yellow onion
  • 2 – 16 ounce packages potato gnocchi, prepared according to package directions
  • 1 – 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • fresh basil for garnish
  1. Instructions
  2. Preheat grill or oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. Heat 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium high heat.
  4. Add onions and sausage and cook until sausage is no longer pink.
  5. Set aside half of the meat mixture.
  6. Stir gnocchi into meat sauce still in the skillet.
  7. In a small bowl, stir together 2 cups of the mozzarella, parmesan, ricotta and Italian seasoning.
  8. Layer cheese mixture over gnocchi/meat in skillet. Top with reserved meat sauce and remaining 1 cup mozzarella.
  9. Bake in preheated grill or oven for 20 minutes, or until bubbly around the edges.
  10. Remove from heat and garnish with chopped basil. Serve immediately and enjoy!