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12 best gnocchi recipes for pillowy perfection

Soft, comforting, and oh-so-versatile.
Baked Gnocchi Vodka Sauce
Baked gnocchi alla vodka with mozzarella and basilCourtesy Nina Elder
/ Source: TODAY

Gnocchi is a beloved Italian dish that has been enjoyed for centuries. Traditionally made from potatoes, flour and eggs, the pillowy dumplings originated in northern Italy, where cooler climates made it easier to grow potatoes than wheat. Today, gnocchi has become a go-to dish for those who want comfort and convenience. 

Like other pastas, gnocchi is incredibly versatile, but what makes it stand out from noodles like spaghetti or penne is its ability to cook quickly. The bite-sized pieces only take a few minutes to boil, making it a great choice for busy weeknights when time is of the essence. Simply wait for them to rise to the top of the pot and toss in your favorite sauce or some butter and herbs for a quick and easy meal.

From classic tomato sauce to vibrant summer pesto, gnocchi can handle it all. If you’re making them from scratch, you can even get creative and add unique ingredients like dried mushrooms, pumpkin purée or peas to the dough for extra flavor. While potato gnocchi is the classic and most popular version, there are plenty of variations to try including ones made with ricotta cheese or sweet potato.

Gnocchi is plenty filling on its own, perfect for satisfying hunger and providing a comforting meal that doesn’t require lots of planning and prep. It’s also elegant enough to serve at a dinner party or special-occasion gathering. Recipes like potato gnocchi with brisket ragu and ricotta dumplings in a lemony butter sauce will no doubt impress! Whether you’re a seasoned gnocchi fan or new to the dish, there’s no shortage of ways to enjoy the Italian staple, so grab a fork and get ready to savor the flavors of these gnocchi recipes.

Baked Gnocchi Alla Vodka

The origins of vodka sauce may be up for debate — some say it was created in Italy, others insist it was made in New York — but there’s one thing we can all agree on: It’s a fan favorite. This version of the classic Italian-American pasta swaps penne for gnocchi. The plump bites are sauced, then broiled with some cheese and Parmesan panko breadcrumbs to form a pasta bake that’s guaranteed to be a crowd-pleasing hit.

Gnocchi di Porcini

Mushrooms get some much-deserved time in the spotlight not once, but twice in this gnocchi di porcini. Dried porcini mushrooms are blitzed into a powder and folded into the fluffy handmade gnocchi, while black trumpet mushrooms are sautéed in butter until caramelized and crispy. It’s a dish that’s packed with earthy, umami aroma.

Two cooking traditions — homey Italian cuisine and all-American barbecue — come together in this luxurious pasta. Make a red wine-infused ragu with tender, slow-cooked brisket, then toss it with soft potato gnocchi to form a rich, stick-to-your ribs dinner.  

Sheet-Pan Gnocchi

Sheet-pan meals are a weeknight dinner lifesaver. Add a package of gnocchi and you can have a comforting meal ready in no time. Ree Drummond roasts a beautiful array of veggies — asparagus, bell peppers and cherry tomatoes — in this one-pan vegetarian meal. Store-bought pesto, another shortcut, adds to the vibrant freshness.

Corned Beef and Cabbage with Gnocchi

“I love this recipe because in my mind it modernizes one of the all-time classic Irish dishes and showcases what Irish cuisine can become,” says chef Declan Horgan. His updated spin on the St. Patrick’s Day dish combines corned beef with herb ricotta gnocchi and a creamy parsley sauce.

Lighter, fluffier and less complicated to make than its potato counterpart, ricotta gnocchi is one of the easiest pastas to attempt at home. Simply mix all the ingredients together, then roll and cut the dough into small pieces. The homemade marinara takes about an hour to thicken, so if you’re in a hurry, feel free to swap out for your favorite store-bought sauce.

Embrace the bright flavors of spring with a zingy sauce made with lemon, mint, peas and Parmesan. The from-scratch ricotta gnocchi is, as Elena Besser describes them, “pillows of heaven” that pair seamlessly with the buttery sauce.

Ricotta Gnocchi with Herbs

These soft ricotta gnocchi are served with a mixture of fresh herbs like basil, chives and parsley for a burst of flavor in every bite. Perfectly pillowy, this homemade pasta is a great way to impress dinner guests. Pair with shrimp and a salad for a complete meal. 

Chef Missy Robbins gives pesto a boost by adding broccoli and broccoli rabe to the bright green sauce. Pistachios bring a touch of sweetness that nicely complements fluffy ricotta gnocchi.

Gnocchi con Piselli (Gnocchi with Peas)

There are a few signs that spring has finally arrived, but one of best is the sudden availability of fresh peas. This gnocchi has peas in both the pasta and butter sauce to truly let the seasonal vegetable shine.

Pumpkin Gnocchi

Adding fresh pumpkin to tender potato gnocchi gives each bite a warming fall flavor. Smothered in a buttery sage sauce, the gnocchi are sure to satisfy your craving for autumn comfort food as the days grow shorter and temperatures dip.

Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Gnocchi

With a few simple tweaks, you can enjoy gnocchi without the gluten. Sweet potato stands in for white potatoes as a nutrient-rich alternative, while the addition of tapioca flour helps add bounce to each dumpling. Sautéed kale, sage, pomegranate seeds and Pecorino complete the wholesome dish.