Mini Chicken Sausage Meatballs with Gnocchi and Tomato Sauce
- 1 pound gnocchi ( potato dumplings) from refrigerated or frozen foods section of market
- 1 1/2 pounds ground chicken
- 1 tablespoon grill seasoning (recommended: Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick)
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, 1/3 palm full
- 1/4 cup tender sun dried tomatoes (available in pouches or tubs in produce section)
- 20 leaves fresh basil, divided
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus some to drizzle
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
- Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano, to pass at table
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Bring a pot of water to boil for gnocchi. Season the water with salt, add gnocchi and cook according to package directions.
Place chicken in a medium bowl with grill seasoning and add the fennel seeds. Pile sun-dried tomatoes on top of each other in small stacks then slice into thin strips. Coarsely chop the thin strips and add to bowl. Stack 10 basil leaves together then roll them up into a log. Shred the basil by thinly slicing the log. Add basil to the bowl. Drizzle some extra-virgin olive oil over the chicken, mix meat together and roll into mini balls, 1 1/2 inches across, and arrange on a nonstick cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degree F for 10 to 12 minutes or until firm and lightly golden.
Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, the onions and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the tomatoes and sauce and season with salt and pepper. Simmer over low heat. Stir in the remaining 10 leaves of basil, whole or torn.
Drain gnocchi and remove balls from oven. Toss gnocchi and meat balls with sauce and serve with grated cheese to pass at table.