Yes, Autumn is here and it’s time to celebrate the ingredients that are at their peak of perfection. Apples are available year-round of course, but the flavor and crisp texture are unrivaled this time of year. You’ll find the best selection and highest quality if you get them at your local farmer’s market (unless you grow them yourself!).
I first got the idea from the amazing flavor combination of gorgonzola cheese with apples. The addition of the sausage turned out to be brilliant in my humble opinion. Feel free to use pork sausage if you prefer.
Making gnocchi from scratch is time consuming but loads of fun if you like to cook … and even more fun if you do it with others who like to cook also. But feel free to buy gnocchi. You can find vacuum packed gnocchi at Trader Joe’s and other stores. If you want to make your own, I’m attaching a recipe PDF here.
Feel free to substitute pasta for the gnocchi. I would use a substantial short pasta such as rigatoni, or possibly farfalle (which we call bowtie but actually translates butterfly).
The sauce for this recipe is a cream sauce. Feel free to make extra if you want to enjoy some another evening (with Fettucine Alfredo for instance). The best cream for making this is the extra heavy whipping cream with 40% fat. We used the Darigold brand at Frankie’s and it is available in most supermarkets as well as Costco. It reduces better than lighter creams without separating. Unfortunately, it is usually only available in half gallon sizes. The next best option, available in pints, is 36% Heavy whipping Cream.
In this recipe, I call for sausage links. I prefer it this way, but bulk sausage would also work. You’ll find the recipe written out below, or available as a printable PDF.
Buon appetito! Frankie
Serves 4 as a main course / 6 as a first course
- 1 recipe Potato Gnocchi (or one pound store bought gnocchi or pasta)
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts–toasted
- 4 Chicken Italian sausage links (or pork if you’d prefer)
- 1 pint heavy cream
- 6 ounces gorgonzola cheese
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 ounce lemon juice
- 2 cups diced apples (I prefer Gala)
- 2 to 3 cloves of garlic–minced
- Parmesan (preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano) – grated or curled
- Chopped herb such as Italian parsley or sage for garnish
- If making your own gnocchi, prepare as per recipe available above. Set aside.
- To toast walnuts, place in a dry skillet over low to medium heat and toast, stirring occasionally until medium brown and fragrant–about 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside and wipe skillet with paper towel.
- Add a little olive oil to the skillet and cook sausages over medium heat until the exterior is well browned. Add enough water to cover the sausages about two-thirds. Bring to a brisk simmer and continue to cook, adding additional water if needed, until the sausages reach an internal temperature of 165º F. Set sausages aside to cool. Wipe out skillet.
- Add cream to skillet and simmer over low-medium heat until reduced by about 20%. Add white wine and simmer for about 2 minutes longer. Add gorgonzola cheese and lemon juice and stir in to melt cheese. Remove from heat.
- Bring 3 to 4 quarts water to boil in a large pot for cooking gnocchi. When water comes to a boil, add a tablespoon of salt.
- While water is heating, slice sausages into bite size pieces. Heat a little oil in a straight-sided skillet over medium heat. Add sliced sausages and diced apples and sauté until apples begin to soften and caramelize. Add garlic. Stir and cook one additional minute.
- Add sauce to pan with sausage and apples. Turn to very low heat.
- Working in batches, add gnocchi to water and cook until they rise to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain.
- When all gnocchi are cooked, add them to the pan with the sauce, sausage and apples. Gently toss.
- Platter and garnish with parmesan, and parsley or sage.
So, what kind of wine to drink with this dish? I would recommend something creamy and viscous, such as a buttery chardonnay, or something to match the sweetness of the apples such as a Gewurztraminer.