Want a quick and easy gnocchi recipe? Try Italian Gnocchi with Sautéed Spinach and Crispy Pancetta! I use my homemade frozen gnocchi for this recipe, but you can also use the store-bought. Because it’s made with 6 ounces of baby spinach, this is a fairly healthy gnocchi recipe and is a great weeknight dinner for two though you can double the recipe for more diners.
Italian gnocchi is one of my favorite ingredients for simple weeknight dinners. Not that homemade potato dumplings are an effortless endeavor (they’re not), but I when I make a batch, I usually freeze most of it, so those soft potato dumplings CAN BE a weeknight treat. If you don’t happen to have a batch in your freezer, you can use the store-bought stuff, but it’ll never be as light or pillowy as homemade. Therefore, you definitely need to whip up your own Italian gnocchi from scratch one day when the weather’s not cooperating and you have nothing else to do. It’s SO worth it.
How To Make Italian Gnocchi
While you bring a pot of water to a boil for this easy gnocchi recipe, you’ll want to fry up the pancetta. I use pre-chopped packaged pancetta for this recipe, but if you can’t find it like that, it’s ok. You can order one or two slices of pancetta (about 1/4″ thick) and dice them up at home. Another option would be to use a few slices of chopped bacon in its place.
Making Crispy Pancetta
- Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add the olive oil.
- When the oil is hot add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally until the fat has rendered and the crispy pancetta is fragrant, about 3-5 minutes.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pancetta to a dish lined with paper towels. Set aside.
Next come the sliced shallots. There should be enough oil/rendered fat in the pan to sauté the shallots in.
- Reduce the heat to medium, so you can cook the shallots without browning them.
- Add the shallots to the pan.
- Cook them in the pan until they’re softened and translucent, stirring occasionally 2-3 minutes.
I use fresh baby spinach for this easy gnocchi recipe because it’s smaller and more delicate than regular spinach and frozen spinach tends to have too much water in it.
Making Sautéed Spinach for Italian Gnocchi
- Into the pan with the shallots, add about half a bag of spinach.
- Place the lid on the pan and let cook and wilt for about 30-60 seconds.
- Remove the lid and use a pair of tongs to turn and flip the spinach to wilt it entirely.
- Replace the lid on the pan and let the sautéed spinach continue to cook until just wilted through.
This is where the frozen gnocchi comes in. The bite-sized potato dumplings typically goes into the boiling water at about the same time you’ve started to cook the spinach, that way everything comes out even. If you’re using store-bought, follow the instructions on the package to cook them.
Finishing Gnocchi with Sautéed Spinach and Crispy Pancetta
- While the gnocchi are cooking, finish the sautéed spinach with a knob of butter, sherry wine vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.
- Toss the spinach until the butter has melted and the spinach is lightly coated.
- When the gnocchi floats to the surface of the boiling water (usually in a 1-2 minutes), scoop it out with a spider or slotted spoon and transfer it to the pan with the spinach. Toss well with the vegetables.
- Sprinkle the crispy pancetta over the gnocchi and sautéed spinach.
- Finish the dish with parmesan cheese.
This Italian gnocchi has just enough buttery sauce to lightly cloak the pillowy dumplings and flavor the spinach. Crispy pancetta adds pops of texture and salt. The sherry wine vinegar adds just a hint of acid, to cut through the heaviness of butter and rendered pancetta. A light dusting of parmesan cheese adds another umami layer to this simple meal. You’ll love it for the variety of textures and flavors, not to mention the prep and cook time, which is usually around 15 to 20 minutes combined… You can’t beat that with a stick.
More Easy Gnocchi Recipes:
- Sausage Kale and Sun-Dried Tomato Gnocchi
- Sheet Pan Gnocchi and Eggs by Imagelicious
- Sausage Spinach Pumpkin Gnocchi from Basil and Bubbly
- Gnocchi with Pancetta Mushroom and Spinach via Dishes Delish
- Easy Caprese Gnocchi by Unicorns In The Kitchen
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Gnocchi with Sautéed Spinach and Crispy Pancetta
- 2 cups potato gnocchi
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 4 ounces finely diced pancetta
- 2 shallots thinly sliced
- 6 ounces baby spinach
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sherry wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons butter
- 1 tablespoon pasta water (from cooked gnocchi)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring it to a boil for the gnocchi. When the water reaches a boil and you're about to start the spinach, add the gnocchi and cook until the gnocchi float to the surface (about 2-3 minutes for homemade) or follow package instructions).
MAKE CRISPY PANCETTA:
- While the water is heating, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Stir in the pancetta and cook for 3-5 minutes or until golden and crisp. Transfer pancetta to a dish lined with a paper towel to drain.
FOR SAUTEED SPINACH:
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the sliced shallots to the same pan as the pancetta and cook stirring, occasionally until the shallots are tender and translucent.
- Add half the package of spinach to the shallots. (NOTE: this is also the time to add the gnocchi to the boiling water). Cover with a lid and cook for about 30-60 seconds. Remove the lid and using a pair of tongs, turn the spinach over to continue to wilt. When teh spinach has mostly wilted, add the remainder of the spinach and cover for 30-60 seconds. Use the tongs to turn the spinach and return the cover to the pan. When spinach is nearly all wilted, stir in the sherry vinegar and butter. Remove from heat.
ASSEMBLING EASY GNOCCHI RECIPE
- As the gnocchi begin to float to the surface of the boiling water, use a slotted spoon or kitchen spider to transfer them to the spinach mixture and toss to combine. If the gnocchi mixture seems dry, add a tablespoon or two of pasta water from the cooked gnocchi.
- Sprikle the cooked pancetta onto the spinach and gnocchi mixture and toss to combine. Garnish with parmesan cheese and serve.