This is a recipe born from difficult times! The difficult time was, without a doubt, July 2022. We spent the last 3 and a half years living in a lovely flat in Plymouth. Around 5 months ago, without much warning, our landlady decided to sell up and we found ourselves looking for somewhere new to live. Ah, the joys of renting property!
We got busy, looked all over the country, printed maps and colour coded counties for cheapness of rent, made countless calls to estate agents about countless properties and were rejected countless times (mostly because of Luna!). We did WhatsApp and Zoom viewings, filled out so many application forms and completed quite a few tenant referencing processes just to get the right to view properties which we then didn’t even get. Eventually it all worked out and we got a flat sorted in Torquay – not in perfect condition but it’s 20 minutes away from the beach and we were prepared to do a lot of painting and home improvements for that reason!
I began to pack up little bits to get us started and gradually did more and more until two-thirds of our lives were packed up and we were living out of boxes (much to the cat’s disgust, as you can see from the picture!). About 2 weeks before moving day Kieran developed a toothache. The toothache didn’t go away after a couple of days, in fact it got worse and kept him up most of each night and he couldn’t open his mouth properly.
After SO many phone calls, we managed to get an emergency appointment with a dentist and he was told he had an infected wisdom tooth, given some medication and told to come back to see them. Thankfully he was mostly out of pain but we were both exhausted as he’d not been sleeping for over a week so the last bits of packing were very interesting!
During the pre-moving period, Kieran was basically existing on soup and custard – when he could eat at all. As it started to get better with the antibiotics, I started to look for easy stuff for him to eat to start getting some actual nutrients and calories into him again – let’s face it, a bowl of soup is nice and comforting when you’re not feeling well and something easy to eat when you have toothache, but it’s not massively nutritious or satisfying when it’s all you’ve been able to eat for days on end!
So that’s basically how Sausage Gnocchi Florentine came about – toothache and a house-move! It has an impressive name but it’s fairly simple to make and quite nutritious. It’s made with basics and store cupboard ingredients so quite budget-friendly, which is important to all of us in the current climate! I’m happy to report that after all the drama, we are all settled in and quite happy with the new house – even Princess Luna is quite happy and has found her new sunbathing spot!
I have to say that this meal also produced one of the funniest responses I’ve ever seen from Luna to anything! As a kitten she would quite routinely eat bits of cake, crisps or whatever else we were eating – but these days she’s normally pretty indifferent to anything that’s not her Sheba or kitty biscuits. This made it all the more surprising that when we’d finished eating the gnocchi , I put the plates down for a second while I went to fill up our water bottles and came back to find her going crazy around my plate (which I had added some olives to), rolling around and rubbing her face on it. We were a little mystified by this crazier-than-normal kitty so I turned to my all-knowing fountain of knowledge (Google) and discovered that olives contain a chemical that’s similar to something in catnip! Who knew?
So, let me know what you thought of my thrifty, store cupboard Sausage Gnocchi Florentine – did you make any changes or additions that you loved? You can contact me via the comments, by using the Contact Me form on the site or I am also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so feel free to tag me! Enjoy DDx.
Sausage Gnocchi Florentine
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 2 servings 1x
Gnocchi in a balsamic spinach and tomato sauce with sliced sausages (and maybe even a cheeky sprinkle of cheese).
- 250 g potato gnocchi
- 1 large onion (or 2 small), diced
- 1 red, yellow or orange pepper, de-seeded and diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely diced
- 4 sausages (I used Cumberland but any sausages are fine)
- 4–5 knobs of frozen spinach
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- A few fresh basil leaves, chopped or torn up
- Sea salt and black pepper
- Olive oil
- Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a frying pan and add the sausages. Allow to cook slowly, turning occasionally while you get on with making the sauce.
- Put the frozen spinach in a small frying pan with a tiny drizzle of oil and place on a low heat. Stir and turn the pieces of spinach occasionally until they are defrosted and broken down. Turn off the heat and put aside for a moment.
- While the spinach is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan. Add the diced onion and fry until starting to soften. Add the diced pepper and garlic and fry for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onion and pepper are soft and cooked through.
- Add the spinach to the onions and peppers and stir.
- Add the tomatoes to the pan and then half fill the tin with cold water to get all the tomato juice out. Add to the pan along with the balsamic vinegar and some salt and pepper.
- Stir the sauce well and then bring it up to a gentle simmer. Allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced down to a thick sauce.
- Put the gnocchi in a pan and cover with some freshly boiled water. Add a pinch of salt and place on a medium/high heat and boil for 2-4 minutes – you can tell gnocchi are done when they start to float to the surface of the water.
- Drain the gnocchi, reserving a ladleful of the cooking water, and add to the sauce. Mix well until the gnocchi are coated, adding some of the reserved cooking water if it seems like it needs it.
- Slice or chop up the sausages and add to the sauce along with the torn-up basil leaves. Mix everything together and check the seasoning.
- Serve with some grated cheese if you like.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes