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Gnocchi bake with pancetta and pesto

This was such a popular dinner, made last week on a busy midweek day. When I served this to my 4 year old, he had a taste and said “Mum. You can DEFINITELY make this again.” Music to my ears! The combination of soft pillowy gnocchi, enveloped in an instant (but still rich) tomato sauce, dotted with pesto and lots of little crispy bacon bits, with mozzarella bubbling on the top… well, you can’t really go wrong, can you?

It’s really quick and quite adaptable too. Throw in some sliced, fried mushrooms, add some spinach… make it veggie by leaving out the pancetta. Any way you do it, it’ll go down well – I promise.

And all in under 20 minutes. Result.

Serves: 4/6
Prep time: 2 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total time: 17 minutes

1 tablespoon garlic oil
About 80g cubed pancetta
500g gnocchi
Handful of semi sundried tomatoes

Handful of basil (optional)
125g (1 ball) mozzarella
500g passata (plus rinse the tub/bottle out with a splash of cold water)
Few dollops (tablespoons) of pesto


  1. Preheat oven to 180C. 
  2. Heat some garlic oil in a pan (add a couple of cloves of garlic, crushed, to the olive oil if you haven’t got garlic oil). 
  3. Add the pancetta and fry off for a few minutes until it’s getting crispy. 
  4. Toss in the gnocchi and sundried tomatoes. Pour in the passata and a splash of water to wash out the bottle or tub. 
  5. Bring to the boil. Add a handful of basil leaves. 
  6. Pour into a large baking dish. 
  7. Tear up the mozzarella and dot it around, also dolloping the pesto around too. 
  8. Bake for about 15 minutes, until it’s bubbling and golden brown. Serve with a simple green salad.



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