Discover the irresistible combination of homemade herby basil pesto and pillowy soft potato gnocchi with this quick and easy Pesto Gnocchi recipe. With just a handful of simple ingredients, this dish effortlessly comes together in a mere 20 minutes to create a yummy vegetarian meal or delicious base to complement your favorite protein.
Easy Pesto Gnocchi Recipe
If you’re a fan of gnocchi and pesto, then this pesto gnocchi is going to knock your socks off! Imagine tender, pillowy soft potato gnocchi perfectly complemented by the vibrant and aromatic flavors of herby basil pesto. The marriage of these two Italian classics is a true culinary match made in heaven. The fragrant basil leaves, grated salty Parmesan cheese, and rich pine nuts in the pesto sauce beautifully coat each little gnocchi with a burst of flavor.
Plus this delicious recipe is a total weeknight wonder! In just 20 minutes, using easy to find ingredients, you can whip together this yummy gnocchi and enjoy it as a complete vegetarian meal or take it up a notch by topping it with shredded chicken or garlic butter shrimp. This pesto gnocchi is the perfect solution for those busy evenings when you need a quick and flavorful meal.
Why You’ll Love This Gnocchi Pesto
- Weeknight Wonder! It’s a great go-to for a flavorful dinner that you can whip up in 20 minutes or less! With its simple preparation and short cooking time, this easy gnocchi recipe is perfect for when you are short on time but need a satisfying meal.
- Pillowy Pesto Gnocchi! The combination of tender and pillowy soft potato gnocchi with the vibrant herby flavors of the homemade basil pesto makes for an incredibly tasty Italian dish. Each bite offers a delightful contrast of textures and a burst of deliciousness.
- Versatile Dish! If you’re looking for a delicious vegetarian option, this pesto gnocchi fits the bill. But it’s also the perfect canvas for all your favorite proteins. You can easily top it with shrimp, chicken, or even stuffed portobello mushrooms to keep it veggie.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Fresh Basil – The key ingredient! You must use fresh basil leaves to make the pesto. To add a nutritious twist you can blend some fresh spinach or kale leaves into the pesto.
- Parmesan Cheese – Adds a lovely salty and cheesy flavor to the pesto. You can swap it out with Pecorino Romano, which is a great alternative.
- Olive Oil – Helps to bind the ingredients together with its velvety texture. Use extra virgin olive oil for the most flavorful pesto.
- Pine Nuts – They provide a touch of rich and buttery nutty goodness. Walnuts are a good second choice.
- Garlic – Adds an aromatic and pungent pop of flavor. Always use fresh garlic cloves for the most intense taste.
- Seasonings – Salt and black pepper are needed to season the sauce.
- Potato Gnocchi – You can use store-bought gnocchi or make your own homemade gnocchi. You can also make this recipe with your favorite kind of pasta.
- Parmesan Cheese – Additional grated parmesan cheese is used to garnish the finished dish.
- Toasted Pine Nuts – Sprinkled on the finished dish right before serving, they add a bit of crunch and nutty flavor.
How To Make Pesto Gnocchi
This gnocchi recipe is super easy and the results are incredibly satisfying. You’ll be amazed at how a few simple ingredients quickly come together to create such a flavorful and comforting dish.
Make The Pesto
To get started, you need to make homemade pesto sauce. First, put the fresh basil leaves,
grated parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and minced garlic into your food processor. Now, pulse everything together until all the ingredients are roughly chopped.
Next, slowly drizzle in the olive oil with the food processor still running until the sauce reaches your desired texture. You can make the pesto smooth or leave it slightly chunky for a more rustic feel. Then season your pesto with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Cook The Gnocchi
After you’ve made the pesto sauce, prepare the gnocchi according to the package directions or your chosen homemade gnocchi recipe. Then reserve ½ cup of the cooking water before draining the gnocchi in a colander. The starchy water is used to help adjust the consistency of the final dish.
Join The Pesto And Gnocchi
While the gnocchi is cooking, gently warm the pesto sauce over low heat in a large skillet or pan. Then add the cooked gnocchi to the pan and toss it in the pesto until it’s fully coated in sauce. At this point, if the sauce is too thick, add some of the reserved cooking water to thin it out.
Garnish And Serve
Once the pesto gnocchi is ready, transfer it to your favorite plates or bowls. Then sprinkle each serving with a bit of freshly grated parmesan cheese and toasted pine nuts.
Frequently Asked Questions
Of course! You can use store-bought gnocchi with no problem. Just follow the cooking instructions on the package and follow the recipe.
Yes! You can prepare the pesto sauce in advance and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Pesto can separate if the oil does not emulsify properly with the other ingredients. This is why it’s essential to add the oil slowly and steadily with the food processor running. The other causes of separation can be due to over-blending or using low-quality ingredients. If separation occurs, whisk or stir the pesto vigorously to bring it back together.
- Use fresh basil. This dish relies on the aromatic and herbaceous deliciousness of the basil so it’s important to use fresh herbs.
- Toast the pine nuts. Simply toss them around in a dry skillet over medium heat until they are golden brown. Toasting the pine nuts intensifies their flavor and adds a nice crunch to the dish.
- Add the olive oil slowly. When making the pesto, it’s important to slowly drizzle in the olive oil with the food processor running. If you pour the oil in too quickly or all at once, it can result in an overly oily or separated pesto.
- Don’t overcook the gnocchi. Boil the gnocchi just until they float to the surface. Overcooking can result in mushy gnocchi and impact the texture of the dish.
- Save some cooking water. Remember to reserve some of the cooking water. You can use it to adjust the consistency of the pesto sauce if needed.
You can store leftovers for up to 4 days in the fridge in an airtight container. Then to reheat, just pop the gnocchi in the microwave for a few minutes or warm it in a skillet on the stovetop. For longer storage, you can also freeze the pesto gnocchi for up to 3 months in a sealed bag or airtight container. Just let it thaw out overnight in the fridge prior to reheating.
Other Delicious Pasta Recipes You’ll Love
- Stuffed Shells
- One Pot Tomato Basil Pasta
- Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta
- Pepperoni Pizza Pasta
- Greek Chicken Pasta
- Spinach Artichoke Pasta
Craving More? Follow Along:
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves packed
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese grated
- ½ cup olive oil extra virgin
- ⅓ cup pine nuts
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 pound gnocchi
- Parmesan cheese grated, for garnish
- pine nuts toasted, for garnish
- Make the basil pesto sauce: In a food processor or blender, combine the basil leaves, grated Parmesan cheese, pine nuts or walnuts, and minced garlic. Pulse until the ingredients are roughly chopped.
- With the food processor or blender running, slowly drizzle in the extra-virgin olive oil until the mixture reaches your desired consistency. You may need to scrape down the sides of the processor or blender occasionally.
- Season the pesto sauce with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Set aside.
- Cook the gnocchi according to the recipe or package instructions. Once cooked, drain the gnocchi, reserving about ½ cup of the cooking water.
- In a large skillet or pan, gently warm the pesto sauce over low heat. Add the cooked gnocchi to the pan and toss to coat them in the sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add a little of the reserved cooking water to thin it out.
- Serve the pesto gnocchi in bowls or on plates, garnished with grated Parmesan cheese and toasted pine nuts, if desired.
Tips & Notes:
- Recipe will yield 1 to 1¼ cups of pesto.
- Choice of Gnocchi: You can use store-bought or homemade gnocchi for this recipe. Just make sure to cook them according to their specific instructions.
- Pesto Variations: Traditional pesto uses pine nuts, but feel free to experiment with other types of nuts like walnuts or almonds.
- Consistency of Pesto: Adjust the amount of olive oil as needed to achieve your desired consistency. Some prefer a thicker pesto, while others like it a bit more loose.
- Garnishing: The toasted pine nuts and extra Parmesan cheese are optional but they add an additional layer of flavor and texture.
- Storing Pesto: If you have leftover pesto, it can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or frozen for longer storage. Just make sure to drizzle a little olive oil on top before storing to keep the pesto from oxidizing and turning brown.
- Warming up leftovers: When reheating, do it over low heat and consider adding a splash of cooking water or broth to loosen the sauce and ensure the gnocchi doesn’t dry out.