January in our home is hearty-food month. Rich soups, hearty stews, and meaty braises are go-to meals for The One and me. And while we adore big bowls of creamy clam chowder (I’m a New Englander, after all) and slow-cooked beef bourguignon (I’m a francophile, too), it’s nice to have a stick-to-your-ribs meal that doesn’t take hours to make.

Enter this rich and comforting sausage, spinach, and gnocchi soup. It’s made with easy-to-find ingredients and is on the table in around 30 minutes. Huzzah, huzzah!

david caricature

Why Our Testers Loved This

Our testers raved about this Italian sausage soup recipe for many reasons. They loved the combination of Italian sausage and pillowy gnocchi in a flavorful broth and appreciated the addition of fresh spinach to make it a true one-pot meal. They describe it as “wonderfully rich” and “delicious and very satisfying.”

What You’ll Need to Make This

Ingredients for Italian sausage soup--stock, spinach, sausage, pepper flakes, pancetta, parmesan, onion, gnocchi, white wine, and garlic.
  • Pancetta–This cured unsmoked Italian pork works beautifully as a salty, crunchy topping for the soup. If you can’t find pancetta, substitute good-quality bacon. (But try to find pancetta. It’s a cool cooking flex.)
  • Sweet Italian sausage–The spices in Italian sausage enhance the soup. You can substitute mild or hot Italian sausage if you prefer. If you’re using hot sausage or aren’t a chile head, skip the red pepper flakes.
  • Broth–There are a lot of salty elements in the soup, so I recommend using reduced-sodium or sodium-free vegetable broth if possible.
  • Spinach–Baby spinach works best here; it cooks wicked quickly. You can reach for a sturdier green like kale or Swiss chard, but it will take longer for the leaves to cook.
  • Gnocchi–You can use shelf-stable or frozen gnocchi for this recipe. I prefer frozen.

How to Make This Recipe

A person sautéing sausage and then pancetta cubes in a Dutch oven.
  1. Brown the sausage in a large pot. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the sausage to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  2. Add the diced pancetta to the pot and cook until chewy-crispy. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
A person sautéing onion and then garlic in a Dutch oven.
  1. Sauté the onion in the hot fat until it softens.
  2. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook briefly.
White wine being added to sautéed onions and garlic, then broth being poured into a Dutch oven.
  1. Pour in the wine and scrape up the brown bits (called a fond) from the bottom of the pot.
  2. Stir in the broth.
Sausage added to soup in a Dutch oven, then a person adding gnocchi to the soup.
  1. Return the sausage to the pot. Bring the soup to a simmer.
  2. Add the gnocchi.
Spinach being added to soup in a Dutch oven, and the finished soup with wilted spinach.
  1. Stir in the spinach.
  2. Cook until the spinach is wilted and the gnocchi are tender. Serve the soup with crispy pancetta and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano on top.
A pot and a bowl of bowl of Italian sausage soup with gnocchi.

Common Questions

Can I freeze Italian Sausage Soup?

You can freeze the soup for up to 3 months. The gnocchi may start to break down after freezing. To avoid this, you can add the gnocchi to the soup after thawing and reheating. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

Can I make this with a different type of meat?

Yes. Feel free to substitute a different type of sausage or ground meat, such as chicken or turkey. Keep in mind that Italian sausage is very flavorful, so you may need to add extra seasoning if using a different meat.

I don’t like Gnocchi. Can I use something else?

Absolutely. I think tortellini–cheese, prosciutto, chicken–would play nicely in this dish.

Make Ahead, Storage, & Reheating

Make Ahead: This sausage soup can definitely be made ahead. Cook the soup, but hold off adding the gnocchi, as they can get soft if they sit too long in the pot. When ready to serve, reheat the soup, add the gnocchi, and warm for several minutes.

Storage and Reheating: Store leftover soup in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat leftover soup in a saucepan over medium heat until warmed through. The soup will have thickened due to the gnocchi, so pour in a little broth or water to thin it.

Helpful Tips

  • This soup has lots of salty elements, so be sure to taste a couple of spoonfuls before seasoning with salt at the end.
  • If you have less than 1 tablespoon of fat in your pot after cooking the sausage, don’t fret. There will be plenty of fat rendered when you cook the pancetta.

What to Serve with this Recipe

This hearty one-pot meal has everything you need for a rich, comforting lunch or dinner, but you could certainly offer some garlic pull-apart rolls and a cilantro kale salad on the side to make it a full meal.

A pot and a bowl of bowl of Italian sausage soup with gnocchi.

More Outstanding Soup Recipes

Video: How to Make this Italian Sausage Soup

Write a Review

If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

Two bowls of Italian sausage soup with gnocchi and spinach.

Italian Sausage Soup

4.91 / 10 votes
This Italian sausage soup is a cozy one-pot meal that's laden with sweet sausage, tender gnocchi, spinach, and topped with crispy pancetta. It's perfect winter comfort food.
David Leite
CourseSoup
CuisineItalian
Servings4 servings
Calories740 kcal
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes

Ingredients 

  • Olive oil
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 1/4-inch thick slice (3 ounces) pancetta, diced
  • 1 medium (5 ozs) yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 4 cups vegetable broth, plus more if needed
  • 3 ounces baby spinach
  • 1 pound gnocchi
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, to serve

Instructions 

  • Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  • Cook the sausage, breaking apart the clumps, until browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the sausage crumbles with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate.
  • Add the pancetta and cook until chewy-crispy, about 5 minutes. Transfer the dice to a second paper towel-lined plate.
  • Dump in the onion and cook, stirring often, until it begins to soften, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute more.
  • Crank the heat to medium-high and splash in the wine. Scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon and let the wine bubble until nearly evaporated, about 1 minute.
  • Pour in the broth and add the sausage. Let the soup come to a simmer, then stir in the gnocchi and spinach. Cook until the spinach is wilted and the gnocchi are tender, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, if needed.
  • Remove from the heat and divvy the soup among bowls. Top with pancetta and a sprinkling of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Serve immediately.

Notes

  1.  Use caution when adding salt–There are lots of salty elements in this soup, so be sure to taste a couple of spoonfuls before seasoning with additional salt at the end.
  2. Storage–Store leftover soup in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  3. Reheating–Reheat leftover soup in a saucepan over medium heat until warmed through. If the soup is too thick, pour in a little broth or water to thin it.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 portionCalories: 740 kcalCarbohydrates: 49 gProtein: 26 gFat: 48 gSaturated Fat: 17 gMonounsaturated Fat: 21 gTrans Fat: 0.04 gCholesterol: 105 mgSodium: 2376 mgFiber: 4 gSugar: 4 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2024 David Leite. Photos © 2024 David Leite. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This is a wonderfully rich soup that you can make on a weeknight. The use of gnocchi instead of potato elevates this, in my opinion. It’s comfort food with those soft pillow-like gnocchi, but you could easily substitute diced potato for your gluten-free friends.

The final product depends on the quality of your stock and sausage so use that homemade stock if you have it, as well as your favorite Italian sausage.

I doubled this in a large stockpot, and the cooking times were still correct. This reheated well without the gnocchi being overcooked.

One-pot recipes are the ones that get saved in my house. This quick and remarkably versatile soup was the surprise stunner of my New Year. I had all the ingredients on hand although the recipe calls for store-bought items, mine were homemade, and I think you’ll have an equally enjoyable soup whatever direction you choose to take.

The overall consensus from the Hungry Teenager was that it was spicy but not hot, so good and filling. He gave it a high 8.

It is a delicious and satisfying soup, hearty enough for a meal with some bread. I successfully used spicy Italian chicken sausage. This Italian sausage soup with spinach will be in rotation this winter because it’s simply comfort in a bowl.




About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.


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Recipe Rating




16 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Loved this easy soup! I made some modifications based on what I had on hand – I used chicken stock instead of vegetable broth, skipped the pancetta, and doubled the spinach for more veg. Hearty, but not overwhelming. Next time I make it, I’ll try kale instead of spinach and add some creamy white beans. It’s a great base recipe and flexible for riffing. Leftovers do get a bit concentrated and salty, so I’ve been adding a little water to dilute when I reheat. Delish!

    1. Superb, Leah! I love your freelancing. I think this could work well with kale, Swiss chard, and collard greens–so many greens!

  2. 5 stars
    This soup is as rich as Daddy Warbucks! For my taste, I’d probably add another cup of broth. I don’t think my pork sausage was adequately spicy, so I will add some red pepper flakes to the leftovers tomorrow.