Creamy Pumpkin Gnocchi with Spinach and Sausage is a Fall comfort food made in just 30 minutes in one pan! This super easy recipe uses store-bought pumpkin puree and shelf-stable potato gnocchi. The creamy sauce is made with fresh thyme and sage to create the ultimate Autumn flavor-packed dinner that is sure to become a family favorite!
30-Minute, One-Pan Dinner
This 30-minute family-friendly recipe is a well-balanced complete meal that has everything: protein, veggies, and carbs! Everything is cooked in one pan, including the gnocchi! I used pantry staples: store-bought pumpkin puree, shelf-stable potato gnocchi, spicy Italian sausage, spinach, cream, and fresh herbs! So little effort - and in the end, you have a beautiful Fall dinner that tastes like comfort food and only one pan to clean!
This super easy and delicious meal is worthy of consideration for your monthly dinner rotation! Easy enough to make on a busy weeknight. Fancy enough to serve when entertaining company. If you want more cozy Autumn recipe inspiration, don't miss this sausage stuffed acorn squash and butternut squash spinach lasagna.
What makes this recipe work
- Quick and easy recipe. Pumpkin gnocchi is a simple 30-minute dinner that uses minimal ingredients. Everything is cooked in one pan, including the gnocchi! In the end, there is only one pan to clean! It's a must-have to have in your rotation for busy weeknights.
- Store-bought ingredients reduce cooking times. This recipe uses store-bought pumpkin puree and store-bought shelf-stable gnocchi. There is no need to roast the pumpkin or make gnocchi from scratch as this recipe is already flavor-packed with Fall flavors and ingredients!
- Perfect for the Autumn and Winter seasons. If you're looking for a Fall-themed meal that features seasonal ingredients, look no further! This cozy comfort food is perfect for cold evenings to serve your family, and friends, or as a romantic dinner for two!
- Gnocchi. I used shelf-stable potato gnocchi, a Delallo brand, made with 85% potatoes. You can also use refrigerated kind of gnocchi.
- Pumpkin puree. I used canned pumpkin puree not to be confused with pumpkin pie filling. No need to roast a pumpkin for this recipe!
- Sausage. I used crumbled spicy Italian sausage. You can also use mild or sweet Italian sausage. You can also use Italian sausage links (casings removed, sausage links sliced). I would not use breakfast sausage in this recipe.
- Heavy cream provides the desired creaminess.
- Spinach. I used fresh spinach and cooked it right in the same pan as the pasta sauce. You can also use frozen spinach - thawed and drained of any liquid. Or, use kale or arugula instead.
- Basic seasonings. Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, fresh thyme and sage, salt, and pepper.
What is gnocchi?
Gnocchi is basically dumplings made of small lumps of dough. The gnocchi dough is usually made by combining wheat flour, potatoes, eggs, and seasonings. Technically, gnocchi is not pasta (since they are made as dumplings), however, gnocchi is often categorized as pasta.
I used store-bought, shelf-stable potato gnocchi, a Delallo brand, made with 85% potatoes. You can also use refrigerated kind.
Do you need to precook the gnocchi?
No! It takes only about 5 minutes of boiling gnocchi on medium-high heat to cook them! Just add the uncooked gnocchi directly to the same pan with the creamy sauce and the sausage. As you cook the gnocchi in the sauce, the starch from the gnocchi is released which helps to thicken the sauce. The longer you cook the gnocchi, the thicker the sauce. And the best thing? You have only one cooking pan to clean at the end!
The Directions - How to make easy pumpkin gnocchi
Below are step-by-step photos and an overview of the instructions on how to make this recipe. For the complete and more detailed recipe, scroll down to the recipe card.
1) Cook sliced sausage in a large, high-sided skillet for about 5 minutes.
2) To the same skillet with sausage, add uncooked potato gnocchi.
3) Add heavy cream and chicken stock. Bring to a boil on medium heat and stir everything well. Cover with a lid, and allow the gnocchi to cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat, while the sauce boils.
4) Next, add pumpkin puree and minced garlic.
5) Stir pumpkin puree with the cream sauce and add fresh spinach.
6) Stir everything well and cook on medium heat for about 5 more minutes, until the spinach wilts, the gnocchi are cooked through, and the sauce thickens.
7) Add fresh sage and fresh thyme. Season with salt and freshly ground coarse black pepper.
Cooking Tips, Variations, and Substitutions
- Use a high-sided, heavy-bottomed cooking pan such as a cast-iron skillet or a good-quality stainless steel pan. This will help avoid the burn spots and will ensure even cooking without food getting stuck to the bottom of the pan.
- Fresh spinach is used in this recipe. You can also use frozen spinach. Or change up the greens and use arugula or kale instead.
- Heavy cream can be replaced with half-and-half.
- Can you make it gluten-free? Yes! There is gluten-free gnocchi available online or in some grocery stores. Just make sure to check the label.
- Can you make it dairy-free? Yes, use unsweetened coconut milk instead of heavy cream.
How to store and reheat pumpkin gnocchi
Because the sauce is made only with heavy cream, chicken broth, pumpkin puree, and without any cheese, this recipe is easy to store and reheat. It's also a great dish to make ahead.
- Fridge. Store pumpkin gnocchi in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Freezer. Freeze it in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
- Reheat in the microwave oven. Reheat the refrigerated pumpkin gnocchi in a microwave oven for about 1 minute. Taste and reheat for 30 seconds more, if needed. Add a small amount of heavy cream, milk or water to thin out the sauce.
- Reheat on the stovetop. You can also reheat this in a large, high-sided skillet on the stovetop on low-medium heat. When using this method, add a small amount of heavy cream, or half-and-half, or milk to thin out the sauce when reheating.
How to serve it
Serve pumpkin gnocchi in shallow pasta bowls or on plates. Garnish with fresh herbs and red pepper flakes, if you like. Sprinkle freshly grated or shaved Parmesan, Asiago, or Pecorino Romano cheese on top.
What sides to serve with this meal?
Because this recipe features a rich creamy sauce, I suggest that you serve this with the fresh salad to contrast the richness of the sauce and a slice of bread to clean out the plate!
- Store-bought or homemade bread. Serve this easy recipe with something equally simple, such as a slice of store-bought, warm Italian bread, garlic bread, or olive bread loaf. Sausage rigatoni also pairs well with baguette or sourdough bread. A slice of warm bread would be delicious to dip into the creamy pumpkin sauce. Feeling ambitious? Make your own easy loaf of bread in a bread machine.
- Simple salad. Serve a generous amount of simple salad, such as basic spinach or arugula salad, sprinkled with toasted nuts (pecans or pine nuts), a small amount of shredded Parmesan, and dressed simply with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
- Salad recommendations. If you're looking for specific salad recommendations, the simple choice would be this simple spinach salad with pine nuts and Parmesan or cranberry spinach salad with cashews and goat cheese. Or, pair the pumpkin gnocchi with the colorful and easy-to-make arugula salad with apples, cranberries, and pecans or Fall-themed arugula salad with pears, apples, cashews, and homemade balsamic vinaigrette.
Other Fall recipes you might like
- Creamy Ground Turkey Pasta with Butternut Squash and Spinach
- Autumn Chicken Dinner with Roasted Vegetables (Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts)
- Creamy Roasted Butternut Squash Pasta with Sausage and Spinach
- Creamy Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Sausage, Thyme, and Sage
- Stuffed Butternut Squash with Spinach, Bacon, and Cheese
Creamy Pumpkin Gnocchi with Spinach and Sausage (30-Minute, One-Pan)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 12 oz Italian sausage links (casings removed) I used 3 sausage links
- 10 oz potato gnocchi
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ⅓ cup chicken broth
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 4 oz fresh spinach
- 2 tablespoons fresh sage chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
- salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed, and high-sided skillet over medium heat. Remove sausage from the casings and slice it.
- Add the sliced sausage to the skillet and cook on medium heat for about 4 minutes on one side, without turning, to get the sausage slices browned. Flip over to the other side and cook for 2 more minutes. Drain fat and all liquid.
- To the same skillet with seared sausage, add uncooked potato gnocchi, heavy cream, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil on medium heat and stir everything well. Cover with the lid, and allow the gnocchi to cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat, while the sauce boils.
- To the same pan with gnocchi and sausage, add pumpkin puree, and minced garlic. Stir. Add spinach. Bring the sauce to a boil on medium heat, reduce to low-medium heat, and stir everything well. Cook for about 3 or more minutes, until spinach wilts. Make sure the gnocchi are cooked through, the garlic is cooked to your liking, and the sauce thickens. Cook longer if you would like a thicker sauce. Remove from heat.
- Stir in half of the fresh sage and half of the fresh thyme. Season with salt and freshly ground coarse black pepper.
- Tip: use your best judgment about the salt. If the sausage is salty enough, you might not need to add any extra salt.
- When serving, top with the remaining half of the fresh sage and the remaining half of the fresh thyme.
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed. It should not be used as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.