Are you looking for an easy gnocchi recipe that can be prepared in under 30 minutes? Then this is the recipe for you! This one pot creamy pesto gnocchi recipe is made with a creamy pesto sauce, pillowy gnocchi, spinach, and sun dried tomatoes. It is vegetarian friendly when made with vegetarian friendly parmesan cheese.
We use gluten free gnocchi to make our creamy pesto gnocchi. If you do not have a gluten intolerance, you can also use regular gnocchi to make this recipe. No other substitutions are necessary.
What is in this creamy pesto gnocchi?
What is in this recipe for creamy pesto gnocchi? Here are the mean ingredients that are used in this recipe for creamy pesto gnocchi.
- Gnocchi. The gnocchi really is the star of the show in this recipe for creamy pesto gnocchi. We always use gluten free gnocchi, but you can use regular gnocchi if you do not have a gluten intolerance. You can use any mild flavored gnocchi including standard potato gnocchi, ricotta gnocchi, or cauliflower gnocchi. You can either make homemade gnocchi or buy pre-made gnocchi to use in this recipe. We generally have good luck with this Delallo gluten free gnocchi.
- Heavy cream. Heavy cream is used as the base of the sauce for this creamy pesto gnocchi. You can also try using light cream or whole milk if you want to reduce the fat content. You will just have to be more careful because the sauce will be more likely to curdle if the fat content is lower.
- Parmesan cheese. Some parmesan cheese is also added to the creamy pesto sauce to give it even more flavor. If you stick to a vegetarian diet, make sure to use a vegetarian parmesan-style cheese as most parmesan cheese is not vegetarian friendly.
- Basil Pesto. Pesto plays another important role in making the creamy pesto sauce. We generally use a standard green basil pesto, but you can also experiment with using different types of pesto if you like. You can use either homemade or store bought pesto depending on your preferences. We generally use Wegmans brand pesto, but if you are looking for something you can pick up online then we have also used this Barilla pesto.
- Cornstarch. A little cornstarch is also used in the creamy pesto sauce. The starches in the cornstarch help to prevent the sauce from curdling after the parmesan cheese is added to it. As always, make sure to mix the cornstarch with an equal amount of cold water before mixing it into the sauce to prevent the cornstarch from clumping together.
- Spinach. Some spinach is added to this creamy pesto pasta to give it an extra serving of veggies. The spinach also adds some nice contrast in texture to the dish.
- Sun dried tomatoes. Finally, tangy sun dried tomatoes are added to this creamy pesto gnocchi. The tangy flavor of the sun dried tomatoes serves as a nice contrast to the rich, creamy flavor of the pesto gnocchi. We generally use California Sun Dry sun-dried tomatoes when we make our creamy pesto gnocchi.
How to make creamy pesto gnocchi
How do you make creamy pesto gnocchi? Here are all the steps you need to take to make this creamy pesto gnocchi.
- Cook the gnocchi. The first step in making this creamy pesto gnocchi is cooking the gnocchi. You should cook the gnocchi according to the recipe on the box if you are using store bought gnocchi. Different types of gnocchi will need to be cooked for different amounts of time, but the gnocchi will generally be done cooking when it floats to the top of the water.
- Wilt the spinach. The spinach should be lightly steamed or heated so that it wilts before it is added to the creamy pesto sauce. There are two easy ways to do this without dirtying any extra dishes. You can either drop the spinach in the gnocchi water for a few seconds before you drain the gnocchi, or you can put the spinach in the strainer you use to drain the gnocchi and pour the gnocchi and all of the boiling water over it.
- Make the sauce. After the spinach and gnocchi have been cooked, it is time to make the creamy pesto sauce. If you want to save yourself from cleaning any extra dishes, you can make the pasta sauce in the same pot you used to boil your gnocchi. You should heat the cream to a warm temperature then mix the cornstarch with an equivalent amount of cold water before adding it to the cream. Continue to heat the cream and cornstarch mixture for a few minutes before taking it off of the heat and allowing it to cool for a minute or two. Add the pesto and parmesan cheese to the cream after the cream has cooled a little to make sure that the sauce does not curdle. The sauce should be relatively thin when it is done.
- Mix it all together. After the sauce is done, all that is left is to mix all of the ingredients together and serve your gnocchi!
How to store creamy pesto gnocchi
How do you store this creamy pesto gnocchi? This creamy pesto gnocchi can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a few days if it is kept in an airtight food storage container. We recommend mixing the gnocchi, vegetables, and creamy pesto sauce before putting the container in the refrigerator. There is no need to store any of the components of the dish separately when making this recipe.
Depending on the brand of gnocchi you use, you may also be able to store the gnocchi in the freezer. Some brands of gnocchi freeze and thaw well after they have been cooked, whereas others do not. If you have never frozen your gnocchi before, it may be worth it to experiment a little by freezing a few pieces of cooked gnocchi and thawing them the next day to see whether they freeze well.
If you do want to store your gnocchi in the freezer, we recommend storing them in an airtight freezer bag or food storage container. Most gnocchi will keep in the freezer for up to a few months.
How to reheat creamy pesto gnocchi
How do you reheat this creamy pesto gnocchi? We recommend reheating this creamy pesto gnocchi in the microwave. You can reheat the gnocchi on full power for 1 – 2 minutes or until the gnocchi is heated throughout.
For best results, we recommend taking the gnocchi out of the microwave every 30 – 45 seconds and stirring it. This helps to prevent the sauce from curdling by ensuring that no patch of sauce becomes overly hot.
Creamy pesto gnocchi
- 9 oz gluten free gnocchi
- 1 cup spinach
- 1/3 cup sundried tomatoes
- pesto (as desired for garnish)
Creamy pesto sauce
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup pasta water
- 1/4 cup pesto
- 1 cup parmesan cheese (vegetarian parmesan-style cheese)
- 1 tsp cornstarch (plus 1 tsp cold water)
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- salt (to taste, depends how much you salt your pasta water)
- Cook the gnocchi according to the instructions on the box. Different types of gnocchi will need to cook for different amounts of time, but most gnocchi will only need to cook for a few minutes. When the gnocchi floats to the top of the water, that means that it is done.
- Wilt the spinach. You can either throw the spinach in the pot with the gnocchi right before you drain the gnocchi, or you can put the spinach in the strainer you use to drain the gnocchi before you drain it. Pouring boiling water over the spinach should be enough to wilt it.
- Heat the cream over medium heat in a pot. Mix the cornstarch with equal parts cold water in a separate container, then add the cornstarch and water slurry to the heavy cream. Add the black pepper to the heavy cream then heat the heavy cream for another minute or two. Stir the cream occasionally.
- Remove the sauce from the heat and let it cool until it is warm but not hot. Add the pesto and the parmesan cheese to the sauce and stir the sauce until the parmesan cheese melts.
- Combine the gnocchi, cream sauce, spinach, and sun dried tomatoes then serve. If you want a stronger pesto flavor, you can put a few extra dollops of pesto on top of the gnocchi.
Substitutions for creamy pesto gnocchi
Here are some common substitutions that you can make when making this creamy pesto gnocchi. If you make any substitutions and love the result, make sure to leave us a comment including the substitutions you made!
- Heavy cream. You can replace the heavy cream in the creamy pesto sauce with light cream or whole milk if you want. However, we will warn that sauce that is made with whole milk or light cream is much more likely to curdle than sauce that is made with heavy cream. If you omit the heavy cream, make sure the sauce is not too hot when you add the parmesan cheese.
- Basil pesto. We generally use a standard basil pesto when we make this creamy pesto gnocchi. However, if you have another type of pesto you are a fan of you can experiment with making this sauce with different types of pesto.
- Sun dried tomatoes. Are you having trouble finding sun dried tomatoes? This pasta would also taste great with some fresh tomatoes added in. Fresh tomatoes have a milder taste than sun dried tomatoes, so if you do use regular tomatoes then we suggest adding a little extra.
Other recipes you will love
Are you looking for a fun recipe for homemade gnocchi? Then check out this recipe for butternut squash ricotta gnocchi! These tasty gnocchi are made with just four simple ingredients.
Do you want to make some homemade cauliflower gnocchi to use in this creamy pesto gnocchi recipe? Check out our recipe for gluten free cauliflower gnocchi!
Are you looking for another fun pesto recipe? Check out this recipe for pesto calabrese! Pesto calabrese is a red pesto variation that is made with sun dried tomatoes.
Are you looking for another pasta recipe that is nice and creamy? Check out this recipe for creamy garlic herb pasta with chives, basil, and dill.