Creamy Spinach Parmesan Gnocchi
Mar 22, 2018, Updated Jan 30, 2024
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Creamy spinach parmesan gnocchi envelops soft, pillowy dumplings in a decadent sauce, where the nuttiness of Parmesan and the freshness of spinach meld seamlessly to create a comforting, elegant dish. Each bite offers a harmonious blend of flavors, making it a favorite for those seeking the warmth of classic Italian comfort food with a sophisticated twist.
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Easy Gnocchi with Creamy Spinach
Creamy spinach parmesan gnocchi is a luxurious dish that combines pillowy soft gnocchi with a rich and velvety sauce made from fresh spinach and finely grated Parmesan cheese. The gnocchi are enveloped in a creamy sauce that’s infused with a hint of garlic and nutmeg, offering a perfect balance of flavors that delight the palate.
The addition of vibrant, wilted spinach not only adds a pop of color but also introduces a subtle, earthy flavor that complements the nutty undertones of the Parmesan. This dish is a comforting and elegant option for both weeknight dinners and special occasions, promising a satisfying culinary experience with every forkful.
how to Make Creamy Spinach Gnocchi
This creamy spinach parmesan gnocchi recipe is super easy – but there are a couple tried and true tools that will make it the easiest dish, ever! This post may contain affiliate links which won’t change your price but will share some commission.
- Large nonstick pan.
- I prefer ceramic coated pans – they are naturally nonstick and wont leach BPAs or chemicals into your food.
- Microplane for grating parmesan.
- Grated parmesan is fine in this recipe, but I prefer to grate my own parmesano reggiano fresh over my gnocchi – it is salty, nutty, and so delicious!
- Wooden spoon or non-metal spatula.
- Pre-made gnocchi.
- I prefer to buy super soft fresh gnocchi from my grocer’s deli refrigerator – it is faster and easier to cook than the dried variety in the pasta aisle. If you’re cooking gnocchi in one pot, the refrigerated fresh kind is best.
Tips and Tricks to Perfect Creamy Spinach Parmesan Gnocchi
Use Quality Gnocchi: Whether homemade or store-bought, choose high-quality gnocchi for the best texture and flavor. For homemade gnocchi, ensure the potatoes are cooked just right – fluffy and dry.
Don’t Overcook the Gnocchi: Boil gnocchi until they float to the surface, then remove them immediately to avoid them becoming mushy.
Sauté Spinach Properly: Wash and dry the spinach thoroughly before sautéing. Cook just until wilted to preserve its color and nutrients.
Grate Your Own Parmesan: For the best flavor and melt, grate fresh Parmesan cheese rather than using pre-grated varieties, which often contain anti-caking agents that can affect the sauce’s smoothness.
Use Heavy Cream for Richness: For a luxuriously creamy sauce, opt for heavy cream. You can use half-and-half for a lighter version, but the sauce may not be as rich.
Season Carefully: Be mindful of the salt content, especially if using store-bought gnocchi and Parmesan, which are already salty. Taste as you go and adjust seasoning accordingly.
Add Nutmeg for Depth: A pinch of nutmeg can enhance the creaminess of the sauce and add a subtle depth to the dish without overwhelming the other flavors.
Thicken the Sauce to Preference: If the sauce is too thin, let it simmer for a few minutes to reduce. If it’s too thick, add a splash of pasta water or more cream to achieve your desired consistency.
Combine Gnocchi and Sauce Gently: To avoid breaking the gnocchi, gently fold them into the sauce using a spatula instead of stirring vigorously.
Finish with Fresh Herbs: Garnish the dish with fresh herbs like parsley or basil for a burst of color and freshness that complements the creamy sauce.
Serve Immediately: Gnocchi are best enjoyed fresh, so serve the dish immediately after combining with the sauce to maintain the perfect texture.
Experiment with Add-Ins: Feel free to add sautéed mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, or cooked chicken for added texture and flavor.
To avoid mushy gnocchi, cook them in boiling water just until they float to the surface, then remove them immediately. Overcooking can make them lose their texture.
Yes, you can use frozen spinach as a convenient alternative. Thaw and squeeze out as much water as possible before adding it to the sauce to prevent it from becoming watery.
For a lighter sauce, you can substitute heavy cream with half-and-half or a mix of milk and a few tablespoons of cream. Keep in mind that the sauce might be less rich.
If the sauce is too thin, let it simmer for a few minutes to reduce and thicken. Alternatively, you can mix a small amount of cornstarch with water and stir it into the sauce.
Certainly! Grilled chicken, pancetta, or Italian sausage can be great additions. Cook the meat separately and mix it in with the gnocchi and sauce before serving.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently in a pan over low heat, adding a splash of milk or cream to refresh the sauce.
Yes, use gluten-free gnocchi available at most supermarkets, and ensure all other ingredients are gluten-free, especially if using any store-bought sauces or seasonings.
To make a vegan version, use vegan gnocchi, substitute the cream with a plant-based alternative like coconut milk or almond cream, and use a vegan Parmesan cheese substitute.
What to Serve with Gnocchi
Crisp Green Salad: A light, crisp salad with a vinaigrette dressing can cut through the richness of the gnocchi, refreshing the palate between bites.
Garlic Bread: Toasted garlic bread or garlic knots are perfect for soaking up any leftover creamy sauce, adding a delightful crunch and aromatic flavor.
Roasted Vegetables: Roasted asparagus, Brussels sprouts, or cherry tomatoes add a caramelized, slightly sweet element and provide a healthy balance to the meal.
Grilled Chicken or Shrimp: For added protein, grilled chicken or shrimp can complement the creamy gnocchi without overwhelming the dish’s flavors.
Sautéed Mushrooms: Earthy sautéed mushrooms can enhance the umami flavors in the gnocchi dish, making for a more complex and satisfying meal.
Steamed Broccoli or Green Beans: These lightly steamed vegetables bring a fresh, crunchy contrast to the creamy gnocchi, adding color and nutrition.
Caprese Salad: The freshness of tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil in a Caprese salad offers a light, refreshing counterpoint to the creamy gnocchi.
White Wine: A glass of crisp, dry white wine like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc can complement the creamy sauce and cleanse the palate.
Zucchini Ribbons: Lightly sautéed zucchini ribbons provide a delicate, slightly sweet addition that pairs well with the richness of the gnocchi.
Ratatouille: A side of ratatouille brings a medley of vegetables and Mediterranean flavors that can brighten the overall dish and add a touch of acidity.
Antipasto Platter: An antipasto platter with olives, artichokes, cured meats, and cheeses can offer a variety of textures and flavors to nibble on alongside the gnocchi.
Focaccia Bread: Soft, herbed focaccia bread is great for complementing the creamy dish with its fluffy texture and savory taste.
Try these other favorites: One Pot Creamy Tuscan Mushroom Linguine Recipe, 20 Minute Garlic Butter Chicken and Mushroom Pasta, Creamy Chicken Bruschetta Tortellini One Pot Pasta, Spicy Tequila Lime Chicken Fettuccine, 15 Minute Drunken Mussels Pasta, and One Pot Creamy Ravioli and Sausage Skillet.
And be sure to check out one of my all time pasta favorites – a tuscan shrimp linguine that will knock your socks off!
Creamy Spinach Parmesan Gnocchi Recipe
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- 3 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup garlic, diced
- 1 lb gnocchi
- 2 cups baby spinach, fresh
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup basil, cut into thin strips
- 1 tsp salt or celtic sea salt
- 1 tsp pepper, freshly cracked
- 1 cup half and half
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- In a large nonstick pan, melt butter until foamy.
- Add garlic and cook until fragrant and soft, about 3 minutes.
- Pour in water and gnocchi.
- Let gnocchi soak up water and reduce, about 4 minutes on high.
- Reduce heat to medium and add spinach, basil, salt and pepper and stir well.
- Let spinach cook down, another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning or sticking.
- Turn heat off and add in cream, stirring vigorously as you add.
- Return to medium heat and stir in parmesan cheese.
- When parmesan is melted and cream sauce is thick, remove from heat and serve immediately.
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3 Pack, Gnocchi Potato, Product of Italy, Pasta Dumplings, Pasta di Patate, Cooks in 2-3 minutes, 3 x 1 lb, L'Oro Del Sud
HexClad Hybrid Nonstick Sauté Pan and Lid, Chicken Fryer, 7-Quart, Dishwasher and Oven-Safe, Compatible with All Cooktops…
TILUCK measuring cups and magnetic measuring spoons set, stainless steel measuring cups, 6 double-sided stainless steel measuring spoons & 1 leveler
Nutrition InformationYield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 299Total Fat 13gSaturated Fat 8gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 59mgSodium 726mgCarbohydrates 36gFiber 2gSugar 2gProtein 9g
Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.