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Creamy kale gnocchi on a plate with pancetta
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5 from 1 vote

Creamy Kale Gnocchi

Soft, pillowy potato gnocchi are tossed with a simple kale sauce made with walnuts, mascarpone cheese, and Pecorino romano. Add garlic and red pepper flakes for a spicy kick, and crispy pancetta for crunch! A seriously flavor-packed dinner for any night of the week!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: kale sauce, mascarpone cheese, spicy gnocchi
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 759kcal
Author: ari | well seasoned

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch Lacinato kale stems discarded, leaves torn into 1" pieces
  • ½ cup walnuts plus 2 Tbsp crushed walnuts for serving
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil divided
  • 5 oz pancetta cubed
  • 17.6 oz package of gnocchi
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic thinly sliced
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes ¼ tsp if you want it less spicy!
  • cup mascarpone cheese
  • ½ cup Pecorino Romano grated
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt divided
  • ¼ tsp Freshly ground black pepper
  • High quality extra virgin olive oil for serving
  • Flaky sea salt for serving

Instructions

  • Cook the kale. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 tsp Kosher salt, then add ripped kale leaves. Cook for 5 minutes, then use tongs or a slotted spoon to transfer cooked kale to a blender or food processor. Reserve cooking water.
  • Make the kale sauce. To the blender add ½ cup reserved cooking water, ¼ cup walnuts, 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp Kosher salt, and ¼ tsp black pepper. Blend or process until very smooth. If needed, add additional olive oil, 1-2 tablespoons at a time, to help loosen the sauce. Set aside.
    Cooked kale in a blender with walnuts
  • Crisp the pancetta. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add cubed pancetta then cook for 3-5 minutes (cook time depends on the size of the pancetta cubes, see note), until golden brown and lightly crispy. Drain on a paper towel.
    Crispy pancetta in a skillet and bowl
  • Cook the gnocchi. Return the pot of water the kale cooked in to a rapid boil. Add the gnocchi and cook according to package directions. Reserve ½ cup of cooking liquid, then drain gnocchi.
  • Assemble kale gnocchi. Heat 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet. When melted, add garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant, then pour drained gnocchi on top. Allow gnocchi to cook for a minute before stirring so they get light golden brown. Pour kale sauce, mascarpone, grated Pecorino, and ¼ cup reserved pasta cooking water on top, then stir to thoroughly combine. If you want more of a sauce, add remaining ¼ cup reserved water. Return crispy pancetta to the pan, then toss one final time. Divide gnocchi into serving bowls.
    Gnocchi with kale sauce in a skillet
  • Finish gnocchi. Garnish gnocchi with additional grated Pecorino cheese, crushed walnuts, and a drizzle of a high quality finishing olive oil and a tiny pinch of flaky sea salt, if using.
    Kale gnocchi in a pan

Notes

  • If you can't find Lacinato kale, use other variety of kale or other leafy greens.
  • Parmigiano Reggiano is a great substitution for Pecorino Romano!
  • If you can find or buy a chunk of pancetta and cube it yourself, cut the pieces into a ¼" dice. If you buy pre-cut pancetta, they will likely be smaller (and require less time to cook).
  • No pancetta? This would be delicious with sausage too!

Nutrition

Calories: 759kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 53g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 63mg | Sodium: 2011mg | Potassium: 477mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 7234IU | Vitamin C: 81mg | Calcium: 302mg | Iron: 6mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @wellseasonedstudio and hashtag it #wellseasonedstudio!