Recipe Review

Be a Dinner Hero and Make Gnocchi Amatriciana in Just 30 Minutes

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A person can never have too many good pasta sauce recipes. Pasta sauce is one of the easiest things to make for a busy weeknight dinner, or if you just find yourself watching late-night TV and suddenly craving something savory, delicious, and full of carbs.

One of my favorite easy sauces is amatriciana, a red sauce with Pecorino cheese, chili flakes, and cured pork. I usually use it on a long, thin pasta noodle, but this version takes the comfort food element to an even higher level by tossing that cheesy, spicy, bacon-y sauce over fresh homemade gnocchi. 

Traditionally, amatriciana is made with guanciale, or cured pork belly, but this recipe uses pancetta, which is much easier to come by in the U.S. The author also adds spicy Italian sausage to the amatriciana sauce, and I have never been mad about adding spicy Italian sausage to anything. To make the cooking process easier on yourself, roast the sausages in the oven on a foil-lined baking sheet until they’re cooked through. Then set them aside until the sauce is ready for them. 

To make the sauce, cook diced pancetta in a pan until the fat renders off the meat. The pancetta will become crispy and brown on the outside, and you’ll have a nice pan of rendered pork fat to cook the pasta sauce with. If there’s not quite enough fat from the pancetta, add a bit of olive oil, then add freshly diced garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and cook until it’s fragrant. 

Add a can of crushed tomatoes to the garlic, peppers, and fat. Add some pecorino or Parmesan cheese, or both if you have them, and let it simmer on low for about 10 minutes to let it thicken and let the flavors come together. Slice the sausage and toss that in the sauce along with cooked gnocchi, and it’s ready to eat. 

You can use dried or refrigerated gnocchi, but the author suggested making homemade gnocchi with a packaged gnocchi kit. It comes with a powdered mix, so you just add water, mix it together, form the dough into a lump, and then cut the lump into ready-to-boil gnocchi. It sounds like a fun project!

Get the recipe: Gnocchi Amatriciana from Plays Well With Butter

Credit: Faith Durand

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