This Creamy Pesto Gnocchi with Lemon is a quick one-pan dish that can be whipped up in under 20 minutes. It’s full of rich and refreshing flavors, filling, and a perfect weeknight meal!
Warm and comforting, and full of flavor, this quick pesto gnocchi recipe packs a serious punch! Here, we simplify things substantially by using storebought pesto and gnocchi. That means dinner on busy nights just got easier.
The key is using a flavorful pesto sauce you really love. It makes the creamy sauce pungent and delightful. But the secret ingredient in this flavorful meal is lemon zest. Without a doubt, it adds a punch of freshness and lightens up the rich flavors.
Furthermore, this easy dinner is paired perfectly with a glass of light Pinot Grigio! Be sure to add this to your list of quick meals because the total time to get delicious food on the table is under 20 minutes. It doesn’t get quicker than that!
Need more ideas for pasta night?? If you love gnocchi, you must make this amazing Gnocchi All Sorrentina (Baked Gnocchi) and this Italian Sausage Gnocchi Bake! Also, try my Mexican Spaghetti, this Chicken Spaghetti with Rotel and Velveeta, or this amazing pasta with vodka sauce (Gigi Hadid’s Viral recipe)!!
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE
- Dinner in 20 minutes?! Do I need to say more?!
- Very few ingredients are needed–you probably already have most of them.
- Pairs perfectly with a light white wine and my Simple Arugula Salad 🙂
This easy one-pan meal comes together with 6 simple ingredients that can be found in most grocery stores.
Gnocchi – Storebought gnocchi typically comes in 16-ounce packages, refrigerated or non-refrigerated works. If you want to be extra fancy, you can use homemade gnocchi but the storebought version is fine.
Pesto – Unquestionably storebought pesto makes this dish come together quickly and effortlessly. However, if you want to whip up a batch of my quick (5-minute) Basil Arugula Pesto to use in this dish, you will not be disappointed!
Chicken stock – Again, store bought chicken broth or stock both work and simplify this dish. You can also use white wine but give yourself more time for the alcohol to evaporate.
Heavy cream – This is important for a rich and delicious texture. I do not recommend substituting half and half or regular milk.
Lemon zest – A little lemon zest will go a long way to give a very refreshing and lovely flavor.
Parmesan cheese – It would be wrong to serve a gnocchi dish without grated parmesan cheese.
HOW TO MAKE CREAMY PESTO GNOCCHI WITH LEMON: STEP BY STEP
Here are some quick visual instructions. Remember that full instructions with exact ingredients will be in the recipe card below!
Step 1: First, whisk together pesto, chicken stock, and cream in a large skillet over medium-high heat and bring to a gentle simmer.
Step 2: Add gnocchi and cook, occasionally stirring, for 2-3 minutes until gnocchi is cooked through and the sauce begins to thicken.
Step 3: Next, turn off the heat and stir in parmesan and lemon zest. If the sauce is a bit thick, add a splash of chicken stock.
Step 4: Last, season with freshly cracked black pepper and salt as needed. Serve immediately.
RECIPE TIPS & TRICKS
Certainly, this easy one-pan meal is pretty simple on its own. But consider these helpful tips for best results:
- Hit the easy button and use your favorite store-bought pesto. However, you have the flexibility to use a homemade version, too if you have a little extra time.
- Don’t be tempted to substitute the heavy cream with half and half or regular milk as these have lower fat content and will separate under heat. On the other hand, you can reduce the heavy cream with additional chicken stock to lighten up the recipe.
⭐️ CONFIDENCE TIP ⭐️
The sauce will thicken very quickly because of all the starch in the gnocchi. If it becomes too thick, add a little more chicken stock or a splash of water to thin it to the desired consistency.
STORAGE & REHEATING
Storage: Leftover lemon gnocchi can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
Reheating: Reheat it in the microwave until warmed through. Alternatively, you can reheat it on the stovetop in a small covered pan over medium heat for a few minutes. Add a splash of heavy cream or chicken stock to loosen up the sauce a bit.
ADDITIONS AND SUBSTITUTIONS
Wine: Using a dry white wine in place of the chicken stock takes this dish to a new level. Just cook the sauce a bit more so the alcohol has a chance to cook off.
Chicken: Adding in leftover grilled chicken or rotisserie chicken makes this a complete, super quick one-pan meal!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The beauty of this creamy gnocchi recipe is it does not require cooking gnocchi according to package directions first. You add it directly to the saucepan and it cooks in the pesto, chicken stock, and heavy cream mixture. As the gnocchi cooks, it creates a very rich and creamy pesto sauce.
Yes! Cook the recipe as written, then cool and store in a freezer-safe airtight container. When you are ready to have this dish again, thaw overnight, add to a skillet, and reheat it with a bit of chicken stock to loosen up the sauce. Lastly, top with extra lemon zest, parmesan cheese, and a squeeze of lemon juice.
I do not recommend substituting half and half or regular milk because the fat content is considerably less. As a result, the milk solids may separate from the fat under heat.
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Creamy Pesto Gnocchi with Lemon
- 1 17 oz. package uncooked gnocchi See Note 1
- 1/3 cup prepared pesto or this easy homemade Basil Arugula Pesto
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1/4 cup parmesan
- To a pan over medium heat, add pesto, chicken stock and heavy cream. Bring to a bubble, then add in gnocchi.
- Cook, stirring occasionally for 2-3 minutes until gnocchi is cooked through and sauce begins to thicken (See Note 2).
- Turn off the heat and stir in parmesan and lemon zest. If sauce seems a bit thick, add in a splash of chicken stock.
- Season with fresh ground pepper and salt (as needed) and serve immediately.