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5 from 2 votes

Sausage Ragu with Ricotta Gnocchi

A rich tomato sausage ragu tossed in light, pillowy homemade ricotta gnocchi. Chilly nights call for comfort and what better way to wrap up and get cosy than with a big bowl of Italian comfort food. This easy sausage ragu tastes like it's been simmering all day but is made in only just over an hour including the gnocchi!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr 20 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 684
Author: Emily Kemp


For The Sausage Ragu

  • 1 carrot peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery finely chopped
  • 1/2 small onion finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • 6 sausages high quality coarsely ground and casings removed
  • 2.5 cups (550g) pureed tomatoes/passata
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) water
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper

For The Ricotta Gnocchi

  • 14 oz (400g) ricotta
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 & 3/4 - 2 cup (250-300g) flour
  • 1/2 cup (20g) parmesan freshly grated
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper


  • Finely chop the carrot, celery and onion and add to a large pan with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Saute the vegetables slowly over a low heat for at least 10 minutes until softened .*see notes on this step.
  • Once softened add the chopped garlic and saute until fragrant. Turn up the heat to medium and add the sausage meat, removed from their casing and brown. Use the side of a wooden spoon or spatula to break up the meat into smaller pieces as it browns.
  • Next, add the red wine and reduce by half. Add the pureed tomatoes (passata) along with a bay leaf, sprig of rosemary and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Rince the tomato can or bottle out with the water and add to the sauce.
  • Simmer the sauce on low for 1 hour, stirring a few times to make sure it doesn't stick to the pan.
  • When the sauce is almost ready (15 minutes before the end) make the gnocchi. Follow the instructions here then drop them into boiling salted water. When they float to the top they're ready.
  • Remove with a slotted spoon and add to the sausage ragu, toss to coat and serve.


The Soffrito

A good ragu always starts with a soffrito, finely chopped carrot, celery and onion. I always use equal amounts of each and chop them as finely as possible.
This is a crucial part in making this sausage ragu and shouldn't be skipped. The soffrito should be sauteed slowly for at least 10 minutes (usually 10-15 minutes). Notice how bright and vibrant the vegetables start off in the pan, after cooking they should be dull in colour and softened.
Always saute the soffrito on a low heat, stirring frequently assuring it doesn't burn. This will add a huge depth of flavour to the ragu or any sauce or soup!

Extra Tips For Making This Sausage ragu;

  • Use the highest quality ingredients you can afford this is especially important when it comes to the sausages and tomato puree (passata).
  • Buy sausages that are 95%+ pork, good quality and coarsely ground. If you can find Italian ones that are flavoured with fennel and garlic then that's even better.
  • If you do find Italian ones then you may not need to add extra salt to the sauce as they are usually pretty well seasoned. Try the sauce before adding more salt to be safe. You can always add it but can't take it away.
  • Take extra care when making the soffritto! 
  • For the best flavour I use Cirio classic passata or pureed tomatoes. The quality is really high and for the price, it's so worth it. Cheap tomatoes will give your sauce a very acidic and sometimes metallic taste.
  • The gnocchi dough can be made in advance, wrapped in cling film and placed in the fridge until you're ready to use it.
  • If you make the ragu in advance, it will thicken as it cools. When you are ready to eat simply emulsify the sauce with a ladle or two of salted pasta/gnocchi water and stir to loosen. Heat on a medium/low heat.
  • The ragu can be stored in the fridge for around 2 days or frozen for months.


Calories: 684kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 190mg | Sodium: 991mg | Potassium: 885mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 2860IU | Vitamin C: 12.9mg | Calcium: 434mg | Iron: 5.6mg