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Creamy Pesto Gnocchi

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Creamy Pesto Gnocchi combines lean chicken sausage with mini potato dumplings, fresh spinach, pesto sauce, and other Italian flavors – all topped with fresh mozzarella and ricotta cheese. A quick one pot meal for busy weeknights.

Gnocchi is a great ingredient to use in simple recipes. In addition to this one, try some Sausage Gnocchi Soup and Crispy Sheet Pan Gnocchi with Sausage and Vegetables!

Side view of a plate of sausage and gnocchi with cheese.

Pesto Gnocchi Recipe

One of the best parts of food blogging is trying new things. Whenever we travel or eat out, we love trying new things. It’s inspiring to then go home and make some version I can call my own. Gnocchi is one of those foods. Delicious, simple to make, and a new take on Italian cuisine. Truly, one of my favorite things!

What is gnocchi? (pronounced n-yawk-ee)

Gnocchi are an Italian product, similar to pasta, but are made with 85% potato. The most common ingredients are cooked and mashed potatoes, flour, and eggs. Sometimes, ricotta is added to the dough as well.

Gnocchi have a light, pillowy texture and more of a dumpling. They are excellent with different types of sauces and cook up relatively quick. You can make homemade gnocchi, but shelf-stable gnocchi is also delicious and readily available in most grocery stores. While I’ve never made fresh gnocchi, it’s on my list to make soon.

Try a Kielbasa and Sauerkraut for another skillet meal that includes sausage!

Why we LOVE this Creamy Pesto Gnocchi Recipe:

  1. A semi-homemade simple dinner. This recipe includes store-bought gnocchi and packaged Italian sausage, with a homemade pesto recipe. Perfect for busy nights.
  2. Amazing flavor. A creamy sauce, tender gnocchi, cooked sausage, and healthy veggies are the necessary ingredients for a super tasty meal.
  3. Easy to adapt. You can add different veggies, other types of protein (chicken breasts would be great), and other simple pesto recipes. Feel free to make a simple variation of your own or try this Spinach Pesto recipe.
A skillet of gnocchi and sausage plus cheese and pesto.

Ingredients needed for Sausage and Gnocchi Skillet:

  • Olive Oil – Used to sauté the veggies.
  • Veggies – Yellow onion, cherry tomatoes, garlic, and baby spinach.
  • Sausage – Use whatever (pre-cooked) sausage you prefer – chicken, turkey, or pork. I like to vary the type I use whenever I make this recipe.
  • Gnocchi – You’ll need to 16 oz. packages of gnocchi. I prefer the DeLallo brand.
  • Rotel – One can of Rotel needed. You can use fire-roasted or hot if you like an extra spicy dish.
  • Pesto Sauce – Use store-bought or my homemade basil pesto recipe on the blog.
  • Broth – Some lower-sodium chicken broth adds extra moisture to help cook the gnocchi.
  • Seasonings – A mixture of salt, pepper, Italian Seasoning, and onion powder.
  • Cheese – Some fresh mozzarella and ricotta cheese makes this skillet meal nice and creamy. Top with freshly shredded parmesan cheese when serving.
The ingredients for the sausage and gnocchi skillet recipe.

How to make Sausage and Gnocchi Skillet:

Step 1
Sauté veggies. In a large cast iron skillet (see link below) over medium heat, heat oil and then the diced onion and cherry tomatoes. Cook for a few minutes, until softened. Then add the fresh garlic, sliced sausage, plus seasonings (salt, pepper, onion powder, and Italian Seasoning) and stir. Cook for a couple more minutes.

Step 2
Add remaining ingredients. Remove the skillet from the heat, and add the remaining ingredients to the pan – the gnocchi, fresh spinach, pesto sauce, Rotel, and chicken broth. Stir well to get the ingredients evenly distributed in the skillet.

Step 3
Top with cheese. Then top the mixture with the fresh mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

Step 4
Bake. In a preheated 375 degree oven, bake the sausage and gnocchi skillet for approximately 25 minutes, or until everything is cooked and the top is slightly browned.

Step 5
Serve. Serve this with a spoonful of extra pesto sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Add some fresh basil leaves if desired. Enjoy!

Leftovers store well in an airtight container for several days.

Overhead view of two plates of sausage and gnocchi with pesto.

Possible variations to this one-skillet meal:

  • Use another type of sausage (any turkey, chicken, or pork version), or even a crumbly one that needs browning first.
  • Add/substitute a variety of other veggies, like zucchini, summer squash, broccoli, etc.
  • Try other types of cheese, like a regular shredded mozzarella or some smoked gouda.
  • Use regular diced tomatoes instead of the Rotel/pesto combination like I used.
  • Try another type of gnocchi. I’ve seen gluten-free versions, tomato, and cauliflower gnocchi in the stores (but prefer the regular version).

What to serve with Creamy Pesto Gnocchi:

A plate of cheesy gnocchi and sausage with pesto sauce.

Kitchen Tools used for this recipe: (Affiliate Links)

xoxo ~Sue

A plate of sausage and gnocchi with cheese and pesto.

Creamy Pesto Gnocchi

Creamy Pesto Gnocchi combines lean chicken sausage with mini potato dumplings, fresh spinach, pesto sauce, and other Italian flavors – all topped with fresh mozzarella and ricotta cheese. A quick one pot meal for busy work nights.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 621kcal
Author: Sue Ringsdorf

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion – diced
  • 1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes – halved
  • 3 garlic cloves – minced
  • 15 oz. turkey or chicken sausage (pre-cooked) – sliced
  • 32 oz. Gnocchi (mini potato) – I use DeLallo
  • 2-3 cups fresh spinach – stems removed
  • 4 Tablespoons pesto sauce – homemade or store bought
  • 10 oz Rotel – WITH liquid
  • 2/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper – to taste
  • 8 oz. fresh mozzarella balls
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • additional pesto and parmesan cheese for serving – optional

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Sauté veggies. In a large cast iron skillet (see link below) over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and then the diced onion and cherry tomatoes. Cook for a few minutes, until softened. Then add the fresh garlic, sliced sausage, plus seasonings (salt, pepper, onion powder, and Italian Seasoning) and stir. Cook for a couple more minutes. 
  • Add remaining ingredients. Remove the skillet from the heat, and add the remaining ingredients to the pan – the gnocchi, fresh spinach, pesto sauce, Rotel, and chicken broth. Stir well to get the ingredients evenly distributed in the skillet.
  • Top with cheese. Then top the mixture with the fresh mozzarella and ricotta cheese.
  • Bake. In a preheated 375 degree oven, bake the sausage and gnocchi skillet for approximately 25 minutes, or until everything is cooked and the top is slightly browned.
  • Serve. Serve this with a spoonful of extra pesto sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Notes

Possible variations to this one-skillet meal:

  • Use another type of sausage (any turkey, chicken, or pork version), or even a crumbly one that needs browning first.
  • Add/substitute a variety of other veggies, like zucchini, summer squash, broccoli, etc.
  • Try other types of cheese, like a regular shredded mozzarella or some smoked gouda.
  • Use regular diced tomatoes instead of the Rotel/pesto combination like I used.
  • Try another type of gnocchi. I’ve seen gluten-free versions, tomato, and cauliflower gnocchi in the stores (but prefer the regular version).

    Nutrition

    Calories: 621kcal | Carbohydrates: 66g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 86mg | Sodium: 1565mg | Potassium: 350mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1859IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 306mg | Iron: 8mg
    Tried this recipe?Mention @Suebeehomemaker or tag #suebeehomemaker!

    8 Comments

    1. Marlene Quintana says:

      Made this recipe tonight. Everyone loved it! Adding it to the dinner rotation, and like someone else said above, adding some bread to soak up the delicious sauce. Dish was very full of flavor, but not heavy. I note that I used fresh cherry tomatoes instead of Rotel and may cook the tomatoes a bit beforehand if I decide to do it again. They were cooked but not bursting like my family likes them. I also think it would have enhanced the flavor of the sauce. Great recipe. Thank you!

    2. Made this tonight for dinner, forgot the rotel when i ran to the store unfortunately. But was still delicious without!

      1. Suebee Homemaker says:

        Oh, I’m glad it still turned out for you Alyssa! Thanks for trying it!

    3. We made this last night! Definitely adding it to the dinner rotation. And I recommend a side of yummy homemade bread to soak up the sauce. So good!

      1. Suebee Homemaker says:

        Thanks so much Kelly! I appreciate your feedback greatly!

    4. This recipe looks great! Can’t wait to make it. Quick question: does the gnocchi need to be boiled in water before it’s baked?

      Thank you!
      Natalie

      1. Suebee Homemaker says:

        Hi Natalie! No, the gnocchi cooks in the liquid while baking in the oven. Let me know how it turns out! 🙂

    5. I am not sure how to pronounce it, but I know how to eat it! Also, love the list of ingredients and that it can be cooked in less than 45 minutes.

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