Late summer nights call for easy food that is also fresh and vibrant, abundant with tomatoes, herbs, and other garden booty. This skillet is the dish I make when I want a 15-minute meal with just a handful of ingredients, but one that tastes like summer in the mouth.
Gnocchi, blistered cherry tomatoes, chicken sausage, and a handful of basil — look, I've told you the whole ingredient list already.
I am such a fan of gnocchi in the summertime. Their fat-bellied shapes hold their own with juicy tomatoes and other vegetables; it's so fun to spear a thumbprint of gnocchi with a piece of sausage and tomato in this dish. It fits perfectly in the mouth, no trailing pasta to manage.
And while you can certainly make your own gnocchi, store-bought works just fine here. I usually opt for gnocchi that needs a quick cook, but you can also buy pre-cooked gnocchi that's all ready to throw into the skillet.
For sausage, use whatever you like. I use pre-cooked chicken sausage, and I vary the flavors — this time I used jalapeño for a little sizzle, but I have also used garlic, Asiago, and other delicious sausage varieties.
Last but not least, I finish this with basil, not cheese. You're welcome to use Parmesan, if you like, but in the summer I try to resist the temptation to finish off every Italianesque dish with Parm; let the tomatoes and basil star here.
Gnocchi Skillet with Chicken Sausage & Tomatoes
frozen or shelf-stable gnocchi
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
cooked chicken sausage (about 3 links) , sliced into 1/4-inch-thick coins
cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
1 to 2 ounces
fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced (1/2 to 1 cup loosely packed)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the gnocchi and cook for 2 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and toss with a drizzle of olive oil.
Heat a 10-inch or larger cast iron skillet over medium heat with a light drizzle of olive oil. Add the sausages and cook until it begins to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Push the sausages into a pile at the edge of the skillet and turn the heat up to high.
When the skillet is quite hot, add the tomatoes, skin down, crowding them in if necessary. Cook until they are blistered, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the sausage and cook until both tomatoes and sausage are slightly browned, about 2 minutes more. Stir in gnocchi and cook just until all is combined, but the tomatoes have not broken down into sauce.
Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the basil. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Chicken sausage: Any cooked chicken sausage is good in this dish, although I do prefer one with a little extra flavor added, like red peppers or garlic.
Skillet options: I specify a cast iron skillet because I think it gives the best color and sear to the tomatoes and sausage. However, any deep skillet or sauté pan should work as well, provided it doesn't have a nonstick coating, which will interfere with browning.
Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.