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Best of both seasons in sheet-pan meal

Recipe: Butternut squash plus tomatoes plus gnocchi for the win

Potato gnocchi roasted with vegetables and sausage makes an easy one-pan meal.

Potato gnocchi roasted with vegetables and sausage makes an easy one-pan meal.

Kathy Morrison

So it’s cool enough to cook dinner in the oven, but still nice enough that I don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen. Garden things to do outside, you know.

The solution: A sheet-pan meal, in which all the ingredients roast together in the oven.

This dish is a riff on a recipe from Substitutions are easy: I had Juliet tomatoes but no mushrooms, so into the pan they went. Broccoli cut small would work or green beans or whatever, but don’t forget to include onions.

Gnocchi cooked in the oven is far superior in flavor and texture to boiled gnocchi. It puffs up and gets just a bit crispy – delightful.

Sheet pan gnocchi with vegetables and sausage

Serves 4


Bowl of gnocchi with red onion half, several small tomatoes and a butternut squash
The tomatoes are optional.

1 small butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into chunks

1 small or ½ large red onion, cut into 1-inch chunks

8 ounces mushrooms, quartered, or 8-12 ounces grape or cherry tomatoes 

1 package (1 pound or more) shelf-stable potato gnocchi

1 to 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped

8 to 16 ounces uncooked hot or sweet Italian sausage, in casings or bulk

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving


Arrange two oven racks to split the oven into thirds. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

On a large rimmed baking pan, combine the butternut chunks, the onion and the mushrooms or tomatoes (or use both!). Sprinkle the rosemary over the vegetables, and add the gnocchi to the pan. Drizzle the olive oil over the pan, then sprinkle with about ½ teaspoon of salt and grinding of black pepper. Toss to coat. 

Remove the sausage from its casings and drop bite-size chunks of it all over the vegetables and gnocchi.

Gnocchi and veggies on sheet pan
Gnocchi and veggies are the first layer.

Place the sheet pan on the lower rack of the oven. Roast for about 25 minutes, stirring after about 15 minutes. The sausage should be cooked through, the gnocchi plumped and the butternut chunks tender.

Move the sheet pan to the upper rack and broil on High until the gnocchi are lightly brown and crisp. This happens quickly, about 3 minutes, so don’t walk away.

Serve in large bowls and topped with grated Parmesan, if desired. A salad and a glass of zinfandel are perfect accompaniments.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 26:

Sacramento can expect another inch of rain from this latest storm. Leave the sprinklers off at least another week. Temps will dip down into the low 30s early in the week, so avoid planting tender seedlings (such as tomatoes). Concentrate on these tasks before or after this week’s rain:

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* Knock off aphids with a strong blast of water or some bug soap as soon as they appear.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prepare summer vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to help corral blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees, which are now in bloom and setting fruit.

To prevent sunburn and borer problems on young trees, paint the exposed portion of the trunk with diluted white latex (water-based) interior paint. Dilute the paint with an equal amount of cold water before application.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Seed and renovate the lawn (if you still have one). Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer. Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.

* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and kale.

* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.

* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.

* Shop for perennials. Many varieties are available in local nurseries and at plant events. They can be transplanted now while the weather remains relatively cool.

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