Spinach Gnocchi with Pork Sausage, Cider & Cicoria

Styling: Anita Parise
Blog: Anita Parise
Photography: Anita Parise
Recipe & Inspiration: Basic but impressive Springtime recipes

Welcome to Spring Clubbers!

Winter has well and truly left us for another year, making way for the new season to ‘spring’ into action! I am delighting in the crisp mornings coupled with the lovely afternoon sunshine. These are my ideal days. If I could have it stay like this all year round, I would!

Aside from the gorgeous weather we are experiencing, I am in complete admiration of my little garden patch at the moment. Full of parsley, spinach and cicoria. For those of you who don’t know what cicoria is, it is a bitter leaf similar in appearance to a scrawny, small head of baby lettuce. Often mistaken for a weed, this wonderful ingredient is a regular feature in my kitchen. Preferring to either sauté it with a little garlic and chilli or make it the star of a pasta dish.

And of course when it comes to pasta, I am lucky enough to have GR at the ready. When I was last in store, Renee gave me some gnocchi with spinach to experiment with. What immediately came to mind, were some flavours that I have been wanting to try for quite some time now. Those flavours being fresh pork sausage (inspired by the recent family sausage making day), cider, and a bitter leaf.

These flavours complement each other in colour, texture and taste! Even if you are not a bitter leaf lover, you will be surprised by how well this combination works. The bitterness is instead softened by the cooking process and you are left with an almost sweet flavour that is a pleasure to the palette. If you can’t get your hands on a bitter leaf, a hand full of rocket will also do the trick.

Like most of my dishes, the quality of ingredients is a must. I highly recommend that you don’t skimp on quality – you don’t necessarily have to spend an arm and a leg. A general rule to cook by, is if you can’t find it in season and locally grown, then find an alternative and if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t use it in cooking.

Now I need to give a nod to the boys at The Corner Butcher Store in Morley for sorting me out with the freshest of cacciatore sausage for this recipe! The bonus is that it is already seasoned with all the good stuff so minimal effort for you at home. And another goes to the crew at Rolleystone Brewing Co for in my opinion the best cider I’ve ever tasted!

This is a perfect weeknight meal that can be prepped and ready on your table in less than 30 minutes or (in keeping with the theme) fantastic to share with friends over a few cheeky ciders.

Ciao for now and buon appetito!

Anita, Renee & the GR Team


* Reserve some cooking water – you will need this to bind the sauce.

  • 500g of Golden Ravioli Gnocchi with Spinach
  • A decent splash of extra virgin olive oil
  • 500g of fresh cacciatore sausage (if you can’t find this variety a good Italian pork sausage will do, however you will need to add some chilli, fennel and a touch of paprika)
  • Several sprigs of fresh parsley
  • ½ cup of cider (Please ensure it is not a sweet cider. A good quality dry cider will work best – we used ‘The Original’ from Roleystone Brewing Co. If you’re not a fan of cider, a ½ cup of Pinot Grigio will do equally as well)
  • A large bunch of cicoria (you can use broccoli rabe, the outer green leaves of radicchio or some rocket – whatever your preference)
  • Some fresh Parmigiano cheese to serve and some extra chilli to garnish if you please


  • Begin by placing a large pot of salted water on to boil. Once boiling, drop in the spinach gnocchi. Cook these until they are soft and have floated to the surface. They will take approx. 7-10 minutes (they may take a few extra minutes from frozen).
  • Whilst the gnocchi are cooking, prepare your ingredients. Remove the sausage meat from the casing and place in a large frying pan with a little olive oil. Cook until the meat has browned and is cooked through. Add the fresh parsley and cider. Stir to combine and place the lid on the pan for a few minutes.
  • At this stage, check on the gnocchi – they should be ready.
  • Using a slotted spoon or a sieve, collect the gnocchi and place them in the pan with the sausage mixture. This is when you add a few ladles full of the pasta water – then toss to combine. It is important to mix well as the starches will be released and make the sauce glossy and creamy. If your mixture is too dry, you can always add a little more of the ‘liquid gold.’
  • Finally, add the cicoria to the pan and toss well. Once wilted, serve immediately with a generous helping of grated Parmigiano.
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