Gnocchi is a type of Italian dumpling that is commonly served as a first course or main dish. There are many delicious sauces and ingredients that pair well with gnocchi. Here is an overview of some of the most popular ways to serve gnocchi.
One of the most classic pairings for gnocchi is a simple tomato sauce. The pillowy texture of the dumplings works perfectly with a rich, bright marinara or tomato basil sauce. This is a go-to option for weeknight meals or casual Italian restaurants. The sauce clings nicely to each gnocchi piece. Parmesan cheese can be grated over the top to add even more flavor.
Basil pesto is another excellent match for gnocchi. The nutty basil and garlic flavors complement the mild taste of potato gnocchi. Spoonfuls of vibrant green pesto tossed with hot gnocchi make for a fast and satisfying meal. Pecorino Romano or pine nuts can be sprinkled on top for some crunch. This pairing works best with fresh homemade pesto.
For a creamy and indulgent dish, gnocchi Alfredo is hard to beat. The pillowy gnocchi soaks up the velvety Alfredo sauce made with butter, cream and Parmesan. Sautéed mushrooms or wilted spinach are tasty mix-ins. Chicken can be added to make it a heartier meal. The richness of Alfredo sauce balances nicely with the soft texture of gnocchi.
Gorgonzola is a pungent Italian blue cheese that makes a fabulous topping for gnocchi. The sharp flavor of the cheese contrasts with the mildness of the gnocchi. After boiling the gnocchi, toss it in a pan with butter and cooked pancetta or bacon. Then mix in crumbled gorgonzola until it melts and creates a sauce coating each gnocchi piece. Walnuts can be sprinkled on for added crunch.
Hearty meat bolognese sauce makes a satisfying pairing for sturdy potato gnocchi. The chunks of ground beef and tomatoes cling nicely to the grooves and absorb into the dumplings. Grated Parmesan on top adds another layer of flavor. For an extra decadent dish, bake the gnocchi bolognese mixture with mozzarella cheese. The different textures of the meat sauce, cheese and soft gnocchi make for a comforting baked casserole.
Butter and Sage
For a simple preparation, gnocchi needs nothing more than butter and sage. Boil the gnocchi until tender and then toss it in a pan with melted butter, fresh sage leaves, salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. The nutty sage flavor complements the potatoes beautifully. The butter sauce lightly coats each gnocchi piece. It’s a quick, easy and delightful way to serve gnocchi any night of the week.
Beyond Parmesan and Gorgonzola, many other cheeses pair well with gnocchi. After boiling, toss gnocchi in melted fontina, Gruyere, Asiago, goat cheese or Brie for instant flavor. Some breadcrumbs or walnuts sprinkled over the top can provide crunch. The cheese melts over the hot gnocchi, creating a simple sauce.
Gnocchi also shines when paired with seasonal vegetables. Some excellent options include sautéed zucchini, roasted butternut squash, broccoli rabe, spinach, asparagus, peas or cubed sweet potatoes. The vegetables can be sautéed in olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper before mixing with the boiled gnocchi. Grated Parmesan over the top pulls the dish together.
For a heartier approach, gnocchi can be served with a rich meat ragu sauce. Braised short ribs, pork shoulder or sausage slowly cooked in tomatoes, onions, carrots, wine and seasonings make a perfect match for pillowy gnocchi. The chunks of meat and vegetables cling to the grooves of the gnocchi. Melted mozzarella or ricotta sprinkled over the top adds even more richness.
Gnocchi also pairs well with seafood for a lighter take. Clams, mussels, shrimp or lobster tails sautéed in white wine, garlic, butter and herbs taste delicious tossed with gnocchi. Grated lemon zest brightens up the seafood flavors. For a creamy dish, boil the gnocchi separately then mix with grated Parmesan and heavy cream reduced with the seafood.
Gnocchi is endlessly versatile pasta that pairs well with countless sauces and ingredients. Tomato based sauces, pesto, Alfredo, meat ragu, cheeses, vegetables and seafood all complement the pillowy potato dumplings. The soft but chewy texture of gnocchi stands up well to hearty sauces while also absorbing more delicate flavored sauces. From weeknight dinners to special occasion meals, serve gnocchi with your favorite sauces or ingredients for an easy and comforting Italian meal.