If you’re in the mood for an Italian-inspired meal that’s super quick, comforting, and totally satisfying, you’re going to want to give this delicious 15-minute Creamy Red Pesto Gnocchi recipe a go. This quick little gem is perfect for a cozy weeknight dinner or for serving up at a dinner party.
This Creamy Red Pesto Gnocchi with Oyster Mushrooms and Ground Pork delivers a serious flavor explosion in every bite. The pillowy soft gnocchi is a perfect contrast to the savory, juicy ground pork and the tender, silky oyster mushrooms. The red pesto adds a delicious pop of flavor, while the egg yolks and the pasta water create a rich and creamy sauce.
What is gnocchi?
Gnocchi is an Italian potato dumpling, and it’s the perfect base for this dish. Made from boiled potatoes, flour, and eggs, it has a light and tender texture that is excellent at soaking up the sauce. I’m using store-bought gnocchi in this recipe which means the entire dish can be made in 15 minutes. If you’d prefer to make your gnocchi from scratch, I salute you! Here’s the method I use for homemade gnocchi. Gnocchi can also be made in advance and frozen, so if you have some in your freezer, use that!
What makes this gnocchi recipe so good?
The ground pork in this gnocchi recipe adds a hearty and filling element to the dish, while the oyster mushrooms bring an earthy, umami flavor and silky texture. Along with the red pesto, we finish the sauce carbonara-style, with egg yolks, pasta water, and parmesan cheese. What’s not to love?
If you’re not feeling the ground pork, Feel free to switch up the protein and use ground chicken, sausage, beef, or a veggie substitute instead. You can also use different types of mushrooms, like good ol’ button or cremini. You can definitely use green (basil) pesto here, but red pesto, made from sun-dried tomatoes, basil, Parmesan cheese, and pine nuts, is such a nice little twist.
How to make this Creamy Red Pesto Gnocchi
Since I’m advertising this as a 15-minute dinner, I’ll try to give you the instructions to make this in the most time-efficient way.
- Boil some water. If you have an electric kettle, fill it up and turn it on. This is way faster than waiting for a pot of water to come to a boil on your stove. If you don’t have a kettle, just boil water in a pot as usual.
- While the water is coming to a boil, heat a large, wide pan over medium-high heat.
- Add a tablespoon or so of oil to the pan (leftover bacon fat works great too), and add your ground pork to the pan. Try to spread it out in the pan to help it brown nicely, and cook faster. Add a teaspoon of salt, and leave it alone for a few minutes to let it brown.
- While the pork is browning, you can prep the mushrooms by tearing them into bite-sized pieces.
- After a couple of minutes, the pork should have started to brown nicely. Begin breaking it up and moving it around the pan to cook it through. At this point, I add the garlic and the oyster mushrooms and deglaze the pan with dry vermouth, white wine, or water.
- At this point, your hot water has probably come to a boil. Dump the boiled water into a medium-sized pot and season the water with a good pinch of salt. Once it has come back to a boil, add in your pre-made gnocchi. This will only take 2 minutes to cook.
- While the gnocchi is cooking, add a few sprigs of thyme to the pork mixture, and make the sauce by adding the egg yolks, parmesan cheese, and red pesto in a small measuring jug and stir to combine.
- Drain the gnocchi (reserving some pasta water) and add it to the pork mixture. Add some of the pasta water to the yolk/pesto mixture (I start with about 100ml) and stir to combine. Turn off the heat on the pork mixture completely, then add the sauce to the pan.
- Mix the whole thing together until every morsel of gnocchi is coated in the delicious sauce, adding more pasta water to the pan until the consistency is just right.
- Serve with a sprinkling of extra parmesan cheese and a bit of fresh parsley or other green garnish if desired.
Storage, freezing, and reheating tips
This recipe is a make it > eat it kind of thing. I don’t recommend making it ahead or freezing it. If you do have leftovers, try and use them up within the next day or so, and reheat them gently in the microwave.
- Make sure you remove the pan from the heat before adding the yolk mixture, otherwise you risk scrambling the egg yolks.
- Be sure to save enough pasta water until the end. The gnocchi is very absorbent and the sauce tends to thicken up quite a bit.
Looking for more quick dinners?
My favourite summer spaghetti recipe actually changed my life, because it was the recipe that made me truly understand the importance of properly salting my pasta water! The recipe is so simple, so every ingredient shines.
This Easy Tuna and Green Bean Pasta is just the ticket when you want dinner on the table quickly, and without making too many dirty dishes. A simple and satisfying one-pot-wonder.
This Instant Pot Canned Salmon Chowder is a life saver when you haven’t been to the grocery store in awhile and all you have is pantry staples. Canned salmon for the win!
Creamy Red Pesto Gnocchi with Oyster Mushrooms and Ground Pork
- 450 grams fresh gnocchi homemade or store-bought
- 400 grams lean ground pork
- 250 grams oyster mushrooms torn
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 60 ml dry vermouth or white wine
- 125 ml red pesto
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 Tbsp parmesan cheese grated
- salt to taste
- Parsley, arugula, or basil to garnish optional
- Cook the gnocchi according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside, reserving a cup of pasta water.
- In a large skillet, cook the ground pork over medium-high heat until browned, about 5 minutes.
- In the same skillet, add the torn oyster mushrooms and the garlic and cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with a splash of dry vermouth, white wine, or water.
- Separate two eggs and put the yolks into a small bowl or measuring jug. Add the red pesto and the parmesan cheese, and whisk to combine. Slowly add 100ml of hot pasta water to the yolk and pesto mixture.
- Add the drained gnocchi to the skillet with the pork and mushrooms and stir to combine. Turn off the heat, add the yolky pesto mixture, and stir to incorporate.
- Adjust the consistency with more pasta water and adjust the seasoning by adding salt and pepper if needed.
- Serve the creamy red pesto gnocchi with oyster mushrooms and ground pork hot, garnished with grated parmesan and fresh herbs, if desired.