Creamy Gnocchi with Boursin, Sausage, and Kale

published Oct 9, 2022
Creamy Gnocchi with Kale and Sausage Recipe

Instead of making béchamel, store-bought Boursin cheese acts as the sauce, melting into the sausage and kale, making it the perfect backdrop for the garlic and herbs.

Serves4

Prep15 minutes to 20 minutes

Cook25 minutes

Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Overhead photo of 4 -ingredient creamy gnocchi with kale and sausage in shallow bowl. fork and napkin, blush surface underneath
Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Food Styling: Rebecca Jurkevich; Prop Styling: Paige Hicks

This recipe began as a complete accident. The weather was turning cooler and I wanted something creamy, comforting, and carb-forward for dinner — fast. As I rummaged around my mostly empty fridge, I found a package of Italian sausage, store-bought gnocchi, a bunch of languishing kale, and a package of Boursin “garlic & fine herb” cheese.

Boursin, which comes in a little round gently wrapped in foil, is almost reminiscent of whipped cream cheese, except it’s studded with flakes of dried garlic, parsley, and chives. Now I don’t know about y’all, but to me a light-but-creamy cheese sounded like the perfect match for the spiciness of the sausage combined with the bitterness of a hearty green. (Spoiler alert: I was correct.)

Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Food Styling: Rebecca Jurkevich; Prop Styling: Paige Hicks

Aside from tasting delicious, the cheese is also a major time-saver. Boursin is basically a pre-made sauce, in cheese form! Instead of taking the time to make a béchamel or Mornay, the store-bought cheese acts as the sauce, melting into the sausage and kale, bringing punchy flavors from the garlic and light, delicate notes from the herbs. From start to finish, the whole thing takes well under an hour to prep and cook, making it perfect for a busy weeknight.

It’s also extremely flexible. Feel free to use whatever hearty greens you have on hand. Swiss chard would be wonderful in this, or even collard greens. And if you’re not a fan of spicy food, swap the hot Italian sausage for sweet Italian sausage and leave out the crushed red pepper flakes. This one-pot meal can handle it all!

Creamy Gnocchi with Kale and Sausage Recipe

Instead of making béchamel, store-bought Boursin cheese acts as the sauce, melting into the sausage and kale, making it the perfect backdrop for the garlic and herbs.

Prep time 15 minutes to 20 minutes

Cook time 25 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 pound

    curly or flat-leaf kale

  • 1 pound

    sweet or spicy uncooked Italian sausage

  • 1 tablespoon

    olive oil (optional)

  • 1

    small yellow onion

  • 1 ounce

    Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup firmly packed freshly grated or 1/3 cup store-bought grated), plus more for serving

  • 1 cup

    low-sodium chicken broth, divided, plus more as needed

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional), plus more for garnish

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 (5.2 to 6.5-ounce) package

    soft garlic herb cheese, such as Boursin or Alouette

  • 1 (16-ounce) package

    shelf-stable, fresh, or frozen gnocchi (do not thaw)

Instructions

  1. Remove and discard the tough stems from 1 pound kale. Stack the leaves and cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces.

  2. Heat a large, straight-sided regular or cast iron skillet (at least 12 inches) over medium heat. Remove the casings from 1 pound Italian sausage. Add to the pan and use a wooden spoon to break the meat up into bite-sized pieces. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is cooked through and browned, 8 to 10 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, dice 1 small yellow onion (about 1 1/4 cups). Finely grate 1 ounce Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 packed cup), or measure out 1/3 cup store-bought grated.

  4. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the sausage to a bowl. Add the onion to the pan (no need to wipe out) and stir to coat in the fat. If the pan is dry, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is lightly golden brown around the edges, 3 to 5 minutes.

  5. Add 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes if using and cook until the pepper is fragrant and lightly toasted, about 1 minute. Add the kale in batches and 1/4 cup of the low-sodium chicken broth. Toss with tongs and cook until the kale is wilted about 3/4 of the way down and a darker shade of green, 4 to 5 minutes.

  6. Return the sausage and any accumulated juices in the bowl to the pan. Add 1 package soft garlic herb cheese and the remaining 3/4 cup chicken broth, and gently stir until the cheese is melted. Bring the mixture to a simmer.

  7. Add 1 pound gnocchi and gently stir to combine. Return to a simmer and cook until the gnocchi begins to absorb the sauce and is heated through, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the Parmesan cheese and a few grinds of black pepper and stir to combine. If needed, add up to 1/2 cup more broth until a silky sauce forms that coats the pasta well.

  8. Serve garnished with more Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes if desired.

Recipe Notes

Kale substitute: The same amount of Swiss chard can be used in place of the kale.

Make ahead: The sausage, onions, and kale can be cooked up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container. Reheat covered in the sme skillet over medium heat until heated through, then continue with the recipe as directed.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.