These super simple basil gnocchi are often my life-saver. If there is no time to cook or if I simply don’t feel like cooking, this is one of my go-to dishes. Why? It’s ready in no time, 10 minutes maximum, and you’ll only need 3 ingredients for the basic version – 6 ingredients make it a fancy version.
Being Austrian, with Italy just a few hours by car away, I often eat Italian food. A lot of Italian dishes are quick, fuss-free, and yet delicious. Also: I’m a huge carb lover.
You can alternate this dish in many ways: I love to use potato gnocchi, but you can substitute basically any dry pasta like spaghetti, penne, or tagliatelle. Not in the mood for basil flavor? Use your favorite pesto, like pesto rosso with sundried tomatoes instead.
By the way, I never measure or weigh the ingredients for these creamy basil gnocchi and only did so to give you a guide. Make the dish once and you’ll see it’s so easy that you can freestyle this recipe and add ingredients to your preference.
These quick and easy basil gnocchi only need 3 ingredients for the basic version (6 ingredients make it a fancy dish) and take 10 minutes from start to finish. Using the optional ingredients will jazz up the entire dish but the basil gnocchi also taste great in the very basic version. Hint: I always finish the dish with grated parmesan though.
500g/17.6 oz of potato gnocchi (see note) will yield 2 servings. You can substitute dry pasta like spaghetti, penne, or tagliatelle as well. If doing so roughly count 120 g (4 ¼ oz) of dry noodles for each person.
Recipe: Ursula | lilvienna.com
500 g/17.6 oz potato gnocchi*
1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream**
1 tablespoon basil pesto (or your favorite pesto)
Fine salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon minced preserved lemon or some grated lemon zest
1 handful fresh spinach
Freshly grated Parmesan to finish
Cook the gnocchi according to the packaging instructions. Here: I cooked them for 3-4 minutes in salted water. They are usually done when floating.
In the meantime, heat heavy cream and pesto in a small saucepan or pan. If using preserved lemon, add it as well. Let cook, stirring, for a minute or two. Season with salt and pepper. If you prefer a stronger basil flavor, add more pesto.
Towards the end of the cooking time, add spinach, if using, and remove the sauce from the heat. The spinach will wilt within seconds.
Drain gnocchi and mix with the sauce. To finish, I love to grate some Parmesan and/or lemon zest on top.
* Gnocchi: I use gnocchi that you can find in the dry pasta aisle. You can also find gnocchi in the refrigerated or frozen aisle but the weight might vary, and of course storage is easier with dry ones, which keep long at room temperature.
** Cream: I love to use heavy cream, but half-half works fine too. You could also substitute 1.5 tablespoons of crème fraiche or cream cheese and add some water to thin the sauce.
Note: Depending on the brand of pesto, the color of the sauce will vary. Usually, the sauce is a little lighter in color.