Easy to make and tossed in a creamy mascarpone sauce, this Spinach Pan Fried Gnocchi recipe will be your new favorite dinner recipe!
The other day I realized that I have no gnocchi recipes on the site. Like zero. Which is odd because it is one of my favorite types of pasta.
I tried a recipe similar to this recently where the gnocchi was pan fried and I am not sure I’ll cook it any other way moving forward. There is literally no reason whatsoever to boil gnocchi. Seriously.
This recipe creates a gentle crust on the outside with a chewy middle. Tossed is mascarpone, lemon and parmesan cheese, it also boosts fresh spinach and sundried tomatoes. Best part? It all comes together in less than 15 minutes from prep to plate.
Pan Fried Gnocchi Pasta
Gnocchi is considered to be a pasta, but due to its bundle-like shape, some folks don’t realize that and put it in a category all its own. Pronounced ˈnäkē, it is probably one of the most mispronounced foods out there only compared to Worcestershire sauce.
In reality, gnocchi is a dumpling made from flour and historically, potatoes, which is why the most common form is potato gnocchi. You might also find them made with ricotta cheese, cauliflower, squash, sweet potatoes and even pumpkin.
Making homemade gnocchi is pretty easy, but also time consuming to roll out all of those little dumplings by hand, so I typically get store bought. I like the air locked packages in the pasta aisle.
They are shelf stable and still soft and fresh, not dried. Fresh gnocchi are also a good option, but can cost a lot more and if your family eats as much as mine, you’ll need 2-3 packages to feed them all.
How to Cook Gnocchi
One of the biggest issues with gnocchi is cooking it. Because it is a pasta, most folks want to boil it and that is perfectly acceptable.
However, it only needs a quick dunk in hot water (if fresh). Any longer and those pillowy little nuggets turn into a soggy mess. You can also bake it, like gnocchi sorrentina, or pan fry, like this recipe.
Pan frying gnocchi might be the only way I prepare them from now on. It is quick and relatively foolproof. They get a little crust on the outside while the interior is chewy and toothy.
Just toss it in sauce and spinach and you are good to go.
Pan fried gnocchi can be served with many different sauces, although the most popular are marinara, bolognese and pesto. Even though the pasta is fairly heavy, it does complement other heavy sauces. I’ve even seen it made with carbonara, but knowing how carbonara is made, this doesn’t seem quite right.
For this recipe, we just use mascarpone whisked with water and lemon to create a simple cheese sauce. Top with parmesan cheese and you’ve got dinner.
More pasta recipes:
- One-Pan Sausage Alfredo Pasta
- Tomato Basil Shrimp Pasta
- Scallion Pesto Scallop Pasta
- Baked Lobster Mac and Cheese
- Gnocchi with Sausage
Spinach Pan Fried Gnocchi
- 30 ounces gnocchi , this is typically 2 packages
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 5 ounces fresh baby spinach
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese , softened
- 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 8 ounces sundried tomatoes , julienne cut, in oil and drained
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat.
- Add gnocchi, tossing to brown on all sides for about 5 minutes.
- In a small bowl, whisk mascarpone with zest from one lemon and fresh lemon juice from one lemon, 1/2 cup water, Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Set aside.
- When gnocchi is mostly lightly browned, add 1/2 fresh spinach. Use tongs to toss with gnocchi until it fully wilts. Add remaining spinach until wilted, then garlic, cooking 1 minute longer. Reduce heat to low.
- Toss gnocchi and spinach with mascarpone sauce until smooth and creamy.
- Add drained and blotted sundried tomatoes and top with Parmesan cheese.
- Serve immediately and make sure to come back to let us know how it was in the comments or ratings!