Gnocchi with Bacon & Peas Cream Sauce Recipe

March 20, 2006 32 Comments

Gnocchi with Bacon & Peas Cream Sauce Recipe

Bacon and Pea Gnocchi

We often visit State College, PA (Town of Knowledge and Penn State Football) to visit my wife’s parents and her sister Judy who is an excellent home cook and someone you will see me write about often.

On a visit a couple of months ago Judy told me about her neighbor’s son who was just starting his own Italian import business and was having an open house for friends and family next door that weekend. Of course I wanted to go over and see what was available. I found lots of my favorite Italian treats including imported Gnocchi with potato and pumpkin.

What are Gnocchi?

The word gnocchi is Italian for dumplings and they are sort of like a cross between a dumpling and pasta. The gnocchi I purchased were 70% mashed potatoes, wheat flour, pumpkin, seasonings and a preservative.

They are shaped like little balls or tiny loaves of bread, are solid and make an excellent side dish or main dish when served with a hearty sauce. You can make your own homemade gnocchi but it is a time consuming process.

Just like making your own homemade pasta, the results are fantastic but who has the time during the week. I would like to try and make a bunch of gnocchi with my kids one weekend. We could make up a lot of them, have some for dinner and freeze the rest.

I prefer to find a really good quality commercial brand like the ones I purchased in State College and you can probably find in your supermarket or Italian specialty store in your area. I will do some research and see if I can find a good source online.

What to Serve With Gnocchi?

What’s great about Gnocchi is you can think of them as a substitute for mashed potatoes and serve them with pot roast, braised short ribs, or even ossobucco. On the other hand, you can think of them as pasta and serve them with many of your favorite pasta sauces like I did in this recipe.

What is Pancetta?

Classically, this sauce would be made with Pancetta, Italian bacon that is cured but not smoked. I used regular bacon because that’s what I had in my refrigerator. You can find Pancetta in most supermarkets these days, but unless you are making a lot of Italian dishes, you are not going to use it enough to justify buying it when plain old bacon will to the job.

However, if you don’t mind the extra expense, go for the Pancetta. You will love the flavor and you can always portion it out, wrap it up tightly and freeze what you don’t use.

Gnocchi with Bacon & Peas Cream Sauce

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Gnocchi with Bacon & Peas Cream Sauce


2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

1 medium sized onion red or yellow

4 cloves garlic

3 strips of bacon

¼ cup chicken stock

½ cup heavy cream

1 cup of frozen peas

1-pound gnocchi

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

¼ teaspoon nutmeg Salt & pepper - to taste

How To Prepare At Home


Peel and slice the onion into rings and separate them.

Mince the garlic and cut the bacon lengthwise and then into 1-½" strips.

Thaw the peas anyway you like and grate the Parmesan.

Assemble the rest of the ingredients and you are ready to go.


Start by heating up a large pot of water for cooking the gnocchi. You don't want the sauce ready and have to wait for the gnocchi to cook although they don't take but 2 minutes to cook.

Heat your sauté pan over medium-high heat to get it hot.

Add the oil and butter to the pan and when the butter is melted and hot, add the onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and continue sautéing for another minute.

Add the bacon and cook for 3 - 4 minutes until the bacon doesn't have that white fatty look any more. You don't want the bacon crisp, just cooked through.

The down side of using bacon over Pancetta is the bacon takes longer to cook but if that's what you have available, what the heck.

Add the chicken stock to deglaze the pan, stirring up any of the bacon bits that may be sticking to the pan.

Add the cream and then the peas. Simmer for 3 - 4 minutes and you will notice the sauce start to thicken.

Right after you add the cream you want to start cooking the gnocchi. They only take 2 -3 minutes to cook but by the time you cook and drain them the sauce will be finished.

You will know when the gnocchi are done because they float to the top of the water.

The trick to preparing any pasta dish with a great sauce is getting the timing down so everything is done at the same time.

Add the drained gnocchi to the sauce along with the Parmesan cheese and nutmeg. Give it a gentle stir and cook to warm up and incorporate the sauce with the gnocchi.

Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.




Last modified on Wed 15 February 2017 11:57 am

Comments (32)

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  1. ces says:

    i just did my first home-made gnocchi but a bit disappointed..didn’t really turn out as i would’ve imagined it to be..recipe was from emeril lagasse. now i have to try yours…

    Hey Ces, be sure to let me know how it turns out. – RG

  2. dd says:

    unbelievably tasty dish, something you’d get in the north end of boston

  3. stu says:

    i love pasta and this a good one see ya on the stove lol

  4. Fabio says:

    Positively delicious. I doubled the amount of pasta on instinct and when I come back home, my whole family is there and waiting for us to cook them a meal. A hit!

  5. wallyberger says:

    just a note of encouragement-pancetta is usually sold by the pound at the deli counter, and you could just ask for a couple slices to make the dish-which I have myself made a million times; try adding something, mushrooms are great in this, some might like a little broccoli…variety is the spice of life.

  6. sue griffiths says:


    • Lol says:

      I am a chef in the US and have many gnocchi recipes just let me know what kind of gnocchi dish you are looking for. Never been to northern Italy but I can make some badass gnocchi! With and without potato!

  7. heather says:

    I just made this and substituted ham it was pretty bomb even though next time i will make my own gnocci instead of using frozen supermarket kind.

  8. Ishla says:

    This sounds great! I was looking for a quick and easy meal. I am going to switch it up a bit and add asparagus.

  9. Carrie says:

    One of my new favorite comfort foods. I have made it with bacon, and with pancetta, and I prefer the bacon. It gives it a stronger flavor. And thank you thank you thank you for making all your recipes so easy, anyone can follow them!

  10. Jeanette says:

    My family loved it. I substituded using turkey bacon and light cream to make it a bit healthier.

  11. Colette says:

    Ok, so my home-made gnocchi came out soggy…I decided to toss it in a pan with olive oil and fry it, fantastic! It had a light crispy outside and a soft fluffy center. I made my sauce with asiago cheese, heavy cream, shallots, garlic, and peas. It was amazing!!! everyone loved it…If your gnocchi doesn’t come out right, fry it up a little and it’s great!

  12. tanja says:

    I was looking for an easy sauce recipe to go with my store bought /frozen gnocchi – this one was GREAT.
    I didn’t have heavy cream, so instead I used some milk, butter & sour cream + a little flour to help it thicken. I only added salt & pepper for seasoning, but it tasted delicious! Thank you!

  13. RG says:

    Hi Tanja, glad you enjoyed the recipe and thanks for the alternative for heavy cream. Sounds delicious.

  14. Linda Randell says:

    In a word…Yummy!!!!

  15. Dana says:

    I tried this recipe with Gorgonzola cheese instead of Parmesan Cheese to capture the flavor by one of my favorite Southern Italian restaurants in Seattle, and it was awesome!! thanks for a great recipe!

    Hi Dana, you are very welcome and thanks for the substitution idea. – RG

  16. dan says:

    OMG after i made this the first time, my family request it for every occasion. Birthday, graduation, holiday, and today the SUPERBOWL. THANK YOU.

    You are welcome Dan. Glad you enjoyed it. – RG

  17. Emily says:

    Amazing! I cooked the bacon first then added the onion and garlic to the drippings. Also used whole milk instead of heavy cream and I doubt it made a difference. Great recipe… this is a keeper

    Thanks Emily for your feedback. – RG

  18. TT says:

    This is a delicious dish. Next time I think I’ll use just a tad less nutmeg. It was a bit overpowering. Thanks for this recipe!

    You are welcome TT. – RG

  19. Cait says:

    I was searching around for a good gnocchi with cream sauce recipe and this is it!! SoOo Good. ( I doubled everything except the nutmeg,, onion and peas.)

    Hi Cait, thanks for letting me know. – RG

  20. Lee Bricker says:

    This is wonderful. However, being vegetarians I substituted bacon for soy bacon, cream for soy milk and chicken broth for vegetable broth. Oh yes, butter for sesame oil. Even with all of those substitutions it came you brilliantly.

    Well thank you for letting us know about these substitutions Lee. I’m sure my vegetarian readers will appreciate them. – RG

  21. Craig says:

    How many does this serve?

    Hi Craig, I’m asked this all the time and it’s really difficult to say because it depends on who you are serving. Do they have big appetites? Are kids going to be dining with you? What else are you serving with the dish? I’ll say 4 to 6 adults but base it on who you are feeding – RG

  22. Amy says:

    Isn’t it a terrible problem to live in Italy and have fresh gnocchi and smoked pancetta in the refrigerator just asking to be made into something? How fortunate to come across this delicious recipe while searching Google for ideas! I’m going to try this with spinach instead of peas and I’ll let you know how it turns out. Grazie!

    Hi Amy, look forward to hearing your results with the spinach. – RG

  23. Dot says:

    Absolutely incredible. I used ham & the milk method and I can assure you I will be making this again! Thank you so very much.

    Hi Dot, you are very welcome and thanks for commenting. – RG

  24. Jane says:

    My first experience with gnocchi was at a family run Italian restaurant in New York City back in Sept. of 2010. Everything was home-made and I loved it, but I must say this recipe is equally as good. I am making it tomorrow evening for some friends. Thanks!!!

    You are welcome and please come back and tell us about the experience with your friends. – RG

  25. becky says:

    Delicious! I used skim milk instead of cream and it was totally fine. Great dish to make with staples you might have onhand (I did!)

  26. Diane says:

    So yummy! Similar what I recently had at a restaurant and was looking to duplicate. Hubby raved about them too. Look forward to using this recipe again – thank you!

    Hi Diane, let me know how this recipe works for you. Thanks – RG

  27. Makita Akkuschrauber says:

    My brother suggested I may like this web site. He was totally right. This submit actually made my day. You can’t consider simply how much time I had spent for this info! Thank you!

  28. Daniel says:

    Me and My mom Just Made this Recipe and it turned out awsome thanks RG

  29. Herman says:

    Yum! Is my first comment. Easy & fast. Had no butter so substituted with hardened coconut oil (I keep it in the fridge) Turkey bacon – 4 strips – with a little bit of real bacon grease Sour cream substituted the cream and..
    Voila! Delicioso! Fantastico! A tiny bit of heat, cayenne pepper adds some interest along with the nutmeg. Thank you!

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