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There are many side dishes that can pair wonderfully with this pillow soft pasta. You may want to consider something with a little crunch, to contrast with gnocchi’s soft bite that just squishes into your mouth when tugged between your teeth. If you’re wondering what to have with gnocchi, then perhaps you’d want to whip up some tasty appetisers. Though gnocchi is soft and tender, it is actually quite filling, which is why some lighter side dishes like salad, or steamed vegetables are a great addition to this tasty meal.
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What Is Gnocchi?
Gnocchi, pronounced knocky which actually means “lumps” in Italian, are small Italian dumplings that are thick and soft, made from potatoes and flour, cooked and eaten in pretty much the same way as pasta. The dumplings may be pressed with a fork or cheese grater to make ridges or cut into little lumps. Gnocchi are commonly cooked on their own in salted boiling water and then dressed with various sauces. But other kinds are made of cooked polenta or semolina, which is spread out to dry, layered with cheese and butter, and baked.
How To Make Gnocchi?
There are lots of ways to make gnocchi, but one part always remains consistent, and that is they’re always made with potatoes.
- Russet Potatoes
- Cook the potatoes: Add them to a pot and fill it with water to cover the potatoes by about 2 inches. Boil them until they are tender. Drain the water, let them cool down a bit, then mash them with a masher, fork or potato ricer.
- Make the dough: In a medium-sized bowl, mix the flour and salt together. Add the eggs and the flour mixture to the bowl of potatoes. Use your hands to mix everything together until you don’t see anymore dry flour. Lightly flour your work surface and turn the dough out on to it.
- Roll the dough: Knead the dough a few times until everything comes together into a smooth, slightly sticky ball. Using a sharp knife or pastry cutter, cut the dough into 8 equal-sized pieces. Roll each piece into 3/4″ thick logs, flouring your surface if necessary. Cut the logs into 3/4″ pieces. Place your gnocchi on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, sprinkled with flour.
- Shape the gnocchi: You can boil the little gnocchi as they are, or you can shape them to give the gnocchi ridges by holding a fork in one hand, and holding a gnocchi with the other, then press it against the tines of the fork. With gentle pressure, roll the gnocchi down the tines to create ridges.
What Meat Can You Serve With Gnocchi?
Gnocchi can be smothered in sauces and eaten like pasta, which is why it can be eaten with meat, either as a side or incorporated in your main dish.
Examples of this include:
- Gnocchi With Two Cheeses and Bacon
- Ground Beef Gnocchi
- Gnocchi With Meat Sauce
- Creamy Chicken and Gnocchi
Gnocchi With Two Cheeses and Bacon
A great alternative to pasta but just as filling, you’ll need to place your gnocchi in a pan to boil, whilst slicing some spring onions and blue cheese.
Spoon some mascarpone into a large deep frying pan, then add the blue cheese and spring onion and let it melt over medium heat. Add some spinach in large handfuls to the cheese mixture and stir till they’ve wilted.
Crumble some bacon into the mix, then stir the gnocchi into the cheese bacon, and crumble some more bacon atop the gnocchi. And there you have it, a scrumptious delight.
Ground Beef Gnocchi
This dish is made with extra lean ground beef, onion, 3 cloves of garlic, a dash of Italian seasoning, a can of diced tomatoes, 1/3 cup of chicken or beef broth, 3/4 cup heavy cream, a pound of uncooked potato gnocchi, 1/2 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
Start by browning the ground beef and onion in a skillet over medium-high heat for 7-10 minutes, stir in the garlic and Italian seasoning.
Add the diced tomatoes, chicken broth, cream, and gnocchi to the pan, and give it a gentle stir. Once the sauce starts to bubble again, cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium, and cook this for 5 minutes.
Uncover the pan, stir it, and let it cook for another few minutes, or until the gnocchi has cooked through and is nice and soft with the sauce having thickened to your liking.
Stir in the parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper as needed. Serve whilst it’s piping hot for an incredibly delicious dinner.
Gnocchi With Meat Sauce
To make this delicious dish, you’ll need to start with cooking some ground beef with onion and minced garlic in a pan, over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink. Drain excess water, and stir in some tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and seasonings, then bring it to the boil. Reduce the heat and cover, letting it simmer for 15-20 minutes allowing the flavours to blend beautifully.
Cook your gnocchi in a large saucepan of boiling water until they float to the surface, then place them in a bowl, and cover them in your meat sauce, sprinkling with cheese if you wish.
Creamy Chicken and Gnocchi
A hearty meal consisting of pillow-soft gnocchi blanketed in a garlic creamy sauce, with tender, juicy chicken thighs and some pockets of kale. Trust me it tastes just as delicious as it sounds.
- 1 pack of cauliflower potato gnocchi
- 1 1/2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 medium shallot, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 1 bunch kale, stems removes and leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan, about 2 ounces
- Preheat the oven to 400F, and in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook gnocchi then drain well.
- Season the chicken with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large pan over medium heat, then working in batches add chicken to the pan, in a single layer until golden brown and cooked through, 4-5 minutes per side.
- Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter, add the shallot and cook stirring frequently until tender. Then stir in garlic and thyme until fragrant.
- Whisk in the flour until lightly browned.
- Gradually whisk in chicken broth and wine, and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened. Then stir in half and half until thickened, seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Stir in gnocchi and kale till the kale has wilted, returning the chicken to the pan, sprinkle with parmesan.
- Place it into the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes.
Serve alongside a bowl of freshly cut salad for a crunchy texture combined with the tenderness of the gnocchi and juicy chicken.
What To Serve With Gnocchi?
We’ve seen what types of meat we can eat with gnocchi, combined in a thick delicious sauce and eaten as a meal all on its own. But wouldn’t it be way better to have a side or appetisers that contrast the textures and flavours of gnocchi? And with gnocchi being such a sociable dish, there are no shortage of scrumptious sides that couples beautifully with it.
Here are a few ideas of sides or appetisers that go perfectly with gnocchi:
- Soft Cheese – Buffalo Mozzarella
- Sautéed Asparagus
- Blistered Grape Tomatoes
- Italian Peas With Mushrooms
- Garlic Parmesan Stuffed Courgette
- Simple Roasted Aubergine
- Thai Cucumber Salad
- Garlic Bread
- Marinara Sauce
A good source of fibre and protein such as beans are a great addition to any meal. White beans are commonly eaten in Italian dishes, adding them to spinach sautéed in olive oil will satisfy your growling tummy, and compliment your plate of gnocchi deliciously.
Soft Cheese – Buffalo Mozzarella
Made with 3 tiered morsels of sliced tomato, soft mozzarella, and basil, followed by a drizzle of olive oil over the top, for a fresh stunning Italian side dish.
You can never go wrong with asparagus, especially when its smothered in lots of butter and garlic. Sautéing the asparagus makes it vibrant, and beautiful when placed beside a plate of gnocchi, the flavours melding perfectly.
Blistered Grape Tomatoes
Bright and loaded with flavour, grape tomatoes are a wonderful side dish to have with gnocchi. The tomatoes are quickly cooked in olive oil and white wine, then finished with garlic, sea salt, and fresh basil for a simple yet scrumptious side.
You just need grape or cherry tomatoes, a little bit of extra virgin oil, and a pinch of salt. You can add a dash of basil over the blistered tomatoes once they’re done for an extra herby flavour.
Italian Peas With Mushrooms
Almost every main meal needs a side of peas, which is why there is no exception in for our gnocchi dish. Peas and mushroom are a wonderful combination of flavours, that blend beautifully when tossed with onion and garlic.
You’ll need to sauté the onion and garlic in a little oil, till its translucent, add sliced mushrooms and continue to sauté until the mushrooms release some liquid and they adopt a light brown colour, whilst having a pleasant fragrant smell. Add a chicken broth, peas, salt and pepper, and cook until the peas are tender.
Serve with a hot plate of gnocchi and enjoy each morsel.
Garlic Parmesan Stuffed Courgette
A crisp and crunchy side like stuffed courgette is a perfect side dish or snack. Fresh courgette is topped with breadcrumbs, parmesan, garlic and herbs, blended with butter. A perfect oven-baked courgette meal to have with gnocchi.
Simple Roasted Aubergine
Perfectly caramelised aubergine, bursting with flavours making it one of the best low-carb side dishes to have with gnocchi. You can even toss these roasted cubes over your gnocchi for a combination of flavours that will simply be adored.
You’ll need to cut the aubergine into small cubes, toss them with olive oil, salt, black pepper, paprika and garlic powder, then roast them in the oven for about 30 minutes, and you’ll notice that they have turned into a beautiful golden brown.
Thai Cucumber Salad
A refreshing salad ingredient that always tastes amazing with any hearty meal, are cucumbers. You can simply slice them, add a pinch of salt and munch them with your main meal. Or you can add a tangy dressing like vinegar to create a delicious flavour. Adding sugar, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, salt, diced spring onions, chopped peanuts to a bowl of cucumbers makes a perfect side dish to have with your hot plate of gnocchi.
You can never go wrong with chunks of crispy garlic bread to eat alongside your main dish of gnocchi. The soft, buttery, and garlicky flavours combined with the flavours of the gnocchi, whether you’ve chosen to make a Bolognese out of the gnocchi, or simply whipped up a bowl of gnocchi with cheese over the top, this side is for you.
You can either rip off pieces of the garlic bread and dip it in the gnocchi, if your gnocchi is quite saucy, or you could crumble the pieces of bread and spread them across your plate of gnocchi, and enjoy every garlicky bite.
For a meal of gnocchi that sinks beautifully into a sauce that accentuates the flavour of each of those pasta shaped dumplings, marinara sauce is the perfect option.
You can either dip each individual gnocchi into the marinara sauce, or toss them in the sauce for an even better meal. Start by adding some olive oil to a sauce pan, and placing 1/2 a chopped onion to it, over medium-high heat, after 5 minutes add minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
Add 1/2 a cup of water, crushed tomatoes, oregano, red pepper flakes and give it a gentle stir. Then gingerly add whole sprigs of basil, simmering once you’ve reduced the heat to medium-low for about 20 minutes.
Season with plenty of salt and pepper, mix the gnocchi in the sauce, and serve with grated parmesan cheese.
Gnocchi, Don’t Knock It Till You Try It
Whether you prefer a simple plate of gnocchi topped with grated parmesan cheese and served with sautéed peas. Or a sauce drenched plate of gnocchi served with crunchy salad, there’s no denying the delicious, delectable combination of flavours that are discovered with the contrasting dishes.
How Is Gnocchi Traditionally Eaten?
Gnocchi are eaten as a first course, as an alternative to soups or pasta, common accompaniments of gnocchi include melted butter with sage, pesto, as well as a range of other sauces.
What Protein Goes Good With Gnocchi?
Beans, chicken, cheese or meat when eaten with gnocchi makes a perfect meal.
What Sauce Goes With Gnocchi?
Gnocchi with tomato sauce, pesto sauce, mushroom cream sauce, gorgonzola sauce, primavera sauce, creamy pink tomato sauce, and sage and butter sauce.