Gnocchi and Sage Sausage Bake

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Serves 4

This recipe is hearty comfort food at its best.  A quick dish to put together, made especially scrumptious with the subtle heat of our Classic Spicy Tomato Sauce and butter fried sage leaves.

Ingredients:
1 pound package of potato gnocchi
1 pound sliced Italian sausage
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 jar Classic Spicy Tomato Sauce
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 medium shallot, diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled, chopped or pressed
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1 cup grated or shredded mozzarella
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter
Handful of fresh sage leaves

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cook gnocchi according to package instructions then drain and set aside.
3. In a large oven-proof skillet, brown sausage slices in olive oil over medium heat.
4. Add chopped red bell pepper, onion, shallot, and garlic to sausage mixture. Saute for 5 minutes.  Gently stir in the cooked gnocchi and saute with the sausage for another 3-4 minutes.
5. Add the Classic Spicy Tomato Sauce and stir well.  Season with salt and pepper.
6. Turn off your stovetop and sprinkle shredded mozzarella and the grated Parmesan liberally on top of gnocchi bake.
7. Bake uncovered in the oven for 10 minutes until the cheese has melted and started to bubble. 
8. While gnocchi are baking, melt butter in a small frying pan and gently fry the sage leaves until golden brown around the edges (they fry in a matter of seconds so be ready).  Remove gently from pan with spatula and drain on top of a dish covered with a paper towel. 
9. Remove gnocchi from the oven and sprinkle with fried sage leaves to finish.

Melissa Vitelli