Gnocchi, the ultimate comfort food, pair perfectly with bright basil pesto and oven-charred cherry tomatoes. This is a meal ready in 25 minutes that will leave everyone asking for more!
Like many of my most beloved meals, this one came about in the most basic, everyday sort of way. Pretty sure it was a rainy Monday. I needed to make dinner, really did not want to stop by the grocery store, and just happened to have these ingredients lying about:
- Quality pesto
- Cherry tomatoes
Needless to say, these are natural companions, and barely take any effort to throw together into a delicious dinner. But a simple extra step amps up this “thrown together” sort of meal and makes it worth repeating.
Friends, if you have yet to embrace the goodness of oven-roasted cherry tomatoes, what are you waiting for? Try them. Love them. Be prepared, because you’ll want to start adding them to everything. 🙂
How to roast cherry tomatoes
Typically, a cherry or grape tomato has some natural sweetness, even right off the counter. There’s a reason these are popular for snacking!
But, when you take the same little cherubs and roast them on high heat (we’re talking 450 degrees here – don’t be shy about cranking it up!), they become almost transcendent. Sizzling and slightly charred on the outside, a few will burst open. When they cool down a bit, their taste will be sweeter and more intense. The perfect little gem to mix into any pasta like this. They’re also amazing on top of pizza!
Any rimmed baking sheet will work. This is my favorite (affiliate link) – I’ve used and abused it for at least a decade, as you can definitely tell by the finish! I love the ridged bottom and the substantial sides, and that it’s relatively small. A pan like this is easy to handle for small roasting jobs like these tomatoes or a side dish, and easy to fit in the sink afterwards.
About that pesto… and the mushrooms
This gnocchi recipe is terrific with both jarred and homemade pesto. This is my favorite homemade version with a “secret” ingredient that adds just a little zing! But you better believe I like to keep a jar of pesto in the pantry, too. Just make it good quality. Delallo brand is my favorite. (Not sponsored – just a true love! I grew up down the road from their flagship store in Western Pennsylvania, and am such a fangirl.)
After the first time I made this, I decided it would be even more delicious with some sautéed mushrooms – a lot like the much-loved pesto cavatappi that is a huge favorite of mine! If you’re not into mushrooms, just leave them out. But if you dig it, or are even just mushroom curious, the good news is, you can cook them right in the same pan with everything else – and they add great flavor!
So, to recap, here are the steps. Seriously, so easy:
- Roast the tomatoes – just a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper, and the high heat of your oven makes these magical.
- Cook the gnocchi.
- Sauté mushrooms – optional!
- Stir it all together. EAT!
What to serve with pesto gnocchi
Some might call this lazy, but honestly, I love to serve this with just a bit of chopped baby spinach on the side, as seen in the photos here. The spinach picks up a bit of pesto and olive oil from being nestled in next to the pasta, and the flavors complement each other well.
If you’re looking for more accompaniments, here are a few easy, delicious possibilities:
- Easy roasted asparagus
- The BEST quick and easy arugula salad
- Caesar salad – my favorite!
- Garlic bread or a crusty loaf of French bread
If you try this gnocchi or any other recipe on the blog, please rate the recipe and leave a comment below. I love hearing from you, and other readers will benefit from your experience!
Pesto Gnocchi with Charred Cherry Tomatoes
- 16 ounces cherry tomatoes
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 (16 ounce) package potato gnocchi
- 8 ounces white or baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
- 1 cup basil pesto
- fresh basil and Parmesan cheese, for serving
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Spread out cherry tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with approximately 1 Tablespoon olive oil, and sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper. Stir briefly to coat the tomatoes, then roast in the oven for 10-12 minutes, just until tomatoes are slightly charred and burst. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a large sauce pan, bring about 4 quarts of water to boil. Add a generous sprinkle of salt and the gnocchi. Cook for 2-3 minutes, just until all the gnocchi float to the water's surface. Drain and set aside.
- In the same sauce pan, warm the remaining 1 Tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and season with kosher salt and black pepper. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are browned and slightly softened. Add pesto and stir well to combine; remove from heat.
- Add gnocchi and charred cherry tomatoes to the sauce pan and stir gently. Serve with fresh basil and grated Parmesan, as desired.
- Here is our favorite pesto recipe, with a "secret" ingredient to add a little zing! It's so easy to make a huge batch and keep on hand for quick meals like this one.
- This recipe also works very well with jarred pesto; I only recommend you use a high-quality brand, because it's such a prominent ingredient. My personal favorite is Delallo. (Not sponsored, just Pittsburgh proud!)