Pillowy soft potato gnocchi smothered in garlicky, cheesy, bright green basil pesto with a touch of lemon juice and heavy cream. This weeknight worthy meal comes together in just under 30 minutes with minimal dishes and maximum satisfaction!
I had the most incredible bowl of Gnocchi al Pesto the other night while out to dinner. The gnocchi was fluffy and tender and tossed in a bright and fresh pesto sauce with lots of garlic, lemon and a touch of cream. I knew I wanted to recreate it for the blog ASAP!
Luckily, Pesto Gnocchi is very simple to replicate! For a weeknight meal, store-bought gnocchi is a must. They cook up in a flash and I’m always impressed with how light they are.
I do encourage you to make your own pesto, especially in the summer when fresh basil is in season. I’ve never found a store-bought pesto that I loved and making it from scratch is fairly simple anyway and tastes absolutely delicious! Homemade pesto is always worth the effort.
Ingredients You’ll Need
To make the pesto you’ll need: fresh basil leaves, garlic, nuts (pine nuts, almonds, walnuts, cashews), parmesan cheese and olive oil.
To make the gnocchi you’ll need: pesto, store-bought gnocchi, lemon juice and a splash of heavy cream.
Recipe Step by Step:
Step 1. Make the Pesto
Making pesto is fast and easy! Place all of the ingredients, except the oil, in the base of a food processor or blender then pulse until coarsely chopped. While pulsing, slowly stream in the olive oil. Thats it! Season with salt and pepper.
Step 2. Make the Gnocchi
Plunge the gnocchi into a pot of salted, boiling water. As soon as they float to the surface they’re cooked. Reserve some of the starchy cooking liquid before draining.
Step 3. Simmer
Add the pesto, cream and gnocchi to a large sauté pan over medium heat. Toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Divide between bowls and top with grated parmesan cheese!
FAQs and Expert Tips
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Creamy Pesto Gnocchi
- 1 16 oz package potato gnocchi
- 1 c homemade basil pesto *recipe below*
- ¼ c heavy cream
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- grated parmesan cheese for serving
- ¼ c nuts: pine nuts, walnuts, cashews or almonds toasted
- ¼ c grated parmesan cheese
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 c loosley packed basil leaves
- ¼ c olive oil
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the gnocchi according to the instuctionson the package. Reserve ¼c of water before draining.
- While the gnocchi is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cream and pesto to the pan and bring to a low simmer. As soon as the gnocchi is cooked add it to the skillet.
- Cook the gnocchi in the sauce for 2-3 minutes, tossing to coat. Add some pasta water to thin out the sauce as needed. Just before serving add in the lemon juice. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- To serve, divide between bowls. Top with grated parmesan cheese.
- In a food processor or blender pulse the basil, parmesan cheese, nuts, and garlic until coarsely ground.
- Scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Then, with the motor running, drizzle in the oil in a thin stream. Season with salt and set aside.
- Gnocchi:Store-bought potato gnocchi is perfect for this recipe. You could also use a frozen cauliflower gnocchi or any gluten-free variety, just be sure to check the cooking instructions before getting started.
- Nuts: Pine nuts are the go-to for basil pesto but really you can use almost any toasted nut. Almonds, walnuts and cashews all work.
- Leftover gnocchi can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat over low heat in a saucepan or in the microwave. Add a few tablespoons of water to loosen up the sauce as needed.
- Freezing Instructions: Cool, then freeze in airtight container for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in fridge then reheat in microwave until steamy, stir well.