Creamy Pesto Gnocchi is amazing home cooked comfort food that's ready to eat in 20 minutes! Tender gnocchi are smothered in an amazing creamy spinach pesto!
Glorious things happen around here when I clean out my fridge/pantry! Yes, this recipe came about because I grabbed what I had, and whipped something up! Those are my favorite kinds of recipes to make because I love being creative! I do still have pesto on my mind anyway, even after posting my Roasted Tomato Pesto Pasta not too long ago! This one is a little different, I made the most amazing pesto using what I had on hand. What I had just happened to be a bag of baby spinach because I had intentions of making my Spinach Salad this week, but that didn't happen. And, I'm glad it didn't happen because that spinach along with cashews (what I had on hand) garlic, parm, and olive oil made maybe my favorite pesto ever! I also have a recipe for classic Basil Pesto if that's what you're hoping for!
How to Make Gnocchi with Creamy Pesto:
- Get your bacon cooking first if you're using it, it is optional though! While the bacon is cooking, make the pesto! You'll need 5 ounces of baby spinach which works out to about 3 cups. Toss the spinach, a couple cloves of garlic, nuts, fresh parmesan, and a bit of salt and pepper into your blender or food processor.
- Give it a few good pulses until you have a nice coarse mixture, it doesn't need to be super smooth!
- Now, you can dump in the olive oil all at once (it works fine, promise) or you can drizzle it in with your food processor on low. Let it process for just a minute or two until your pesto is mostly smooth.
- Set your pesto aside, get your bacon drained on a paper towel lined plate, then wipe/drain any bacon grease out of your pan. You'll heat ¾ cup of heavy cream, along with ALL of the spinach pesto in the same skillet!
- Whisk it around constantly for 3 minutes or so, just until heated through, and slightly thickened.
- Add your cooked and drained gnocchi, and give everything a good stir. Note that your gnocchi will be cooked according to package directions, most gnocchi only takes 3-4 minutes to cook. I cook my gnocchi first, and then set it aside while I make the bacon and pesto.
Tips and Substitutions for Gnocchi Recipe:
- I used cashews for this pesto because I always have them on hand! You can substitute with the same amount of almonds, walnuts, or ⅓ Cup of pine nuts if you happen to have some around.
- Make sure to heat the cream over LOW heat! You want it to lightly simmer for just a couple of minutes, don't let it boil.
- Milk and or half/and half will not work well for this recipe. They just don't thicken up enough.
- This recipe is versatile! If you don't have spinach you can use 3 Cups of Arugula, or even Kale! If you have basil around, you can use 2 cups of packed basil.
Creamy Pesto Gnocchi
- 1 16 Ounce Package Gnocchi
- 6 Slices Bacon,
- 5 Ounces Baby Spinach About 3 Cups
- ½ Cup Cashews
- ½ Cup Parmesan Cheese
- 2 Cloves Garlic Minced
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- ⅓ Cup Olive Oil
- ¾ Cup Heavy Cream
- Cook the gnocchi according to package directions, drain and set aside.
- Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Turn off the heat, transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate and drain all grease from the pan. Keep the pan handy to make the sauce.
- Meanwhile, add the spinach, cashews, parmesan, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste to the bowl of your food processor or high powered blender. Pulse 5-6 times until you have a coarse mixture.
- Stream in the olive oil with the food processor running on low and blend for 1-2 minutes until smooth. If using a blender, you can add the olive oil in all at once and blend.
- Place the same pan you used for the bacon back on the stove over low heat. Add the cream and all of the pesto and whisk until smooth.
- Keep whisking the sauce constantly for 1-2 minutes until heated through and slightly thickened.
- Add the cooked gnocchi to the sauce and stir to combine. Serve topped with the cooked, crumbled bacon and extra cheese if desired.