This gnocchi pesto carbonara is comfort food at its finest! Flavor galore here with freshly ground black pepper, grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, rich egg yolks, and basil pesto. Tender potato gnocchi tossed together with a silky-slick, creamy pesto carbonara sauce and crispy pancetta. It’s an easy dish that hits the spot!

gnocchi pesto carbonara with crispy pancetta on white scalloped white

Whew, hello gnocchi pesto carbonara! I remember when I was in college and I made my first homemade carbonara. Listen, I watched numerous youtube videos and everything to study this signature dish. It turned out better than expected despite my nervousness when it came to using raw eggs, ha! Fresh hard cheese, egg-y, peppery, and cured pork-flavored, hearty goodness…ain’t nothing like this Italian staple. It’s one of my most favorite recipes.

Carbonara is ultra creamy, flavorful, and arguably one of the easiest dishes you could make. And gnocchi carbonara? Well, pillowy soft potato dumplings sopped up with a delicious saucy sauce. Sign me the heck up! Add some flavorful and fresh basil pesto into the mix and we have a very delightful dish.

Comfort foods lover? Don’t miss these philly cheesesteak egg rolls, my whipped feta with potatoes, this smothered pork chops recipe, my birria tacos, or this steak and eggs with chimichurri– cozy, comforting eats forever, amen!

gnocchi pesto carbonara with basil leaves on white scalloped white with gold fork

DISCLOSURE: This post is sponsored by Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs who I’m always so excited to partner with; all thoughts expressed here are my own. I’ve been a brand ambassador with these friends for some time now and love developing recipes using their high-quality eggs from organic, free range hens.

You’ll find that their eggs come from small family farmers who raise their hens on farms where the hens are free to roam about in the sunshine. I love that their gold standard eggs are USDA Organic, Certified Humane, and contain no antibiotics/hormones/pesticides. The best quality eggs for my recipes!

What You’ll Need For This Recipe

(Note: the full ingredients list, including measurements, is provided in the recipe card directly below.)

⇢ This gnocchi pesto carbonara only requires a few ingredients! 🙌🏾

  • Eggs: A classic necessity for carbonara-ing. Just the egg yolks, aka the richest part of an egg. This makes for a truly creamy and lush sauce when paired alongside the other elements. You’ll def want high-quality eggs to use! I lean on Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs because their eggs are just that with golden, rich egg yolks. Organic eggs actually make a big difference in flavor!
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese: This one is my favorite type of aged Italian hard cheese. This cheese is one of the best with a strong, savory flavor. A good substitute would be Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, of course. Just an fyi: pre-bottled/grated cheese just doesn’t melt/blend as good.
  • Black pepper: Another staple when it comes to carbonara. Freshly ground black pepper adds a nice contrast against the salty, cheesy, and other flavors within this dish. Also, pre-ground black pepper isn’t as potent and flavorful.
  • Basil pesto: The star of the show! Basil pesto is full of fresh, herbaceous, basil-y flavor that just pops so beautifully in many recipes; but especially here. Use your favorite store-bought or homemade basil pesto.
  • Pancetta: Carbonara uses many forms of cured pork- bacon, guanciale, pork belly, and a few others. I love using pancetta as the pork accompaniment in this dish. It has a nice, thick bite and crisps up wonderfully.
  • Gnocchi: I typically use shelf-stable potato gnocchi. It cooks super quick and is readily available at nearly any grocery store. Note: I have not tested this recipe using frozen or fresh, homemade gnocchi.
gnocchi pesto carbonara with basil leaves on white scalloped plates with pete and gerry's egg carton on the side

How To Make Gnocchi Pesto Carbonara

(Note: please see the recipe card directly below for the complete written instructions.)

  1. Prep the sauce. In a bowl, combine the egg yolks, cheese, black pepper, and basil pesto together. Stir to combine this mixture, it will look like a thick paste. Then set this mixture aside to come back to later on.
  2. Crisp the pancetta. Add the pancetta into a large sauté pan and cook until golden brown and crisp. Then set the pancetta aside onto a paper towel lined plate. Keep the heat on and the fat in the pan.
  3. Boil the gnocchi. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the gnocchi just until tender. Then remove the gnocchi with a slotted utensil to drain but do not discard the gnocchi water!
  4. Pan fry the gnocchi. Add the boiled gnocchi into the pan with the residual pancetta fat. Cook the gnocchi in the fat, stirring often, until lightly crisp.
  5. Pre-cook the sauce. Add some of the hot gnocchi water into the egg/basil/cheese mixture and stir to combine until smooth.
  6. Add the sauce in. Pour the sauce into the skillet with the gnocchi and stir to combine. Then add in the remaining tablespoon of basil pesto and stir in. Add a few tablespoons more of the hot gnocchi water into the pan, stirring, until the sauce is creamy and glossy.
  7. Serve!: Immediately serve with pancetta, more cheese, and pepper. Enjoy!

>> This gnocchi pesto carbonara recipe comes together so easily- be sure to peep the recipe how-to-make video to watch this entire dish come to life! ♡

Pesto Carbonara sauce in small speckled bowl with silver whisk inside

Tips + Tricks For Recipe Success

  • Good-quality ingredients: Carbonara is a recipe that uses very few ingredients. As such, make sure that you’re using the best quality of these ingredients: eggs, cheese, and basil pesto.
  • Room temperature egg yolks: This one is important when it comes to blending and cooking the egg yolks. The hot gnocchi water is what essentially “cooks” the yolks here. If your eggs are cold from the fridge, they won’t be at the right temperature to cook them through.
  • Freshly grated & ground: As I noted above, freshly grated cheese is paramount for premium melting and the smoothest consistency. Additionally, freshly ground black pepper from an actual pepper grinder gives the best, most potent black pepper experience that’s a must for carbonara.
  • Don’t overcook the gnocchi: Overcooked gnocchi is a terrible thing because it gets extra gummy and doesn’t have a nice crisp texture. Boil the gnocchi and remove as soon as it floats to the top.

Gnocchi Pesto Carbonara Recipe Highlights

>> ABUNDANT FLAVA. The combination of flavors here are so good, y’all. We have the cheesy element combined with saltiness from the pancetta, fresh basil flavor, and a peppery bite. Minimal ingredients, big time flavor!

>> CREAMY & SAUCY. Carbonara, in the traditional sense, is a super creamy and saucy dish. This gnocchi pesto carbonara is giving every bit of creaminess and all the saucy vibes- without adding a touch of cream!

>> PERFECT TEXTURES. The gnocchi is pillowy soft yet a little crisp from the pan frying (helps to remove the residual moisture). Then combined with the slick pesto carbonara sauce and the crispy pancetta. Textures on 100!

>> JUST THE TWO OF US. This recipe serves up an ideal portion for two people, I love this. Whether it’s you and your special person, enough for leftovers, or whatever…you won’t be left with an overwhelming amount of this recipe afterwards. Unless you make a double batch, but that’s your business!

crispy diced pancetta frying in enameled skillet

Can I Use Bacon?

Yes! If you’d like to use bacon instead of pancetta, you could! It will give a slightly different taste, more smokiness. Use 2-3 strips of bacon (I recommend thick-cut) in place of. Also, guanciale or pork belly would be tasty, too!

What To Serve With This Recipe

This gnocchi pesto carbonara will pair perfectly with a salad, some crusty bread to soak up the delicious sauce; for extra indulgence, peep my loaded olive cheese bread, yum. Garlic bread, garlic knots, steamed veggies, or you could even serve this with my garlic butter parmesan rolls for good measure.

gnocchi pesto carbonara with gold fork on white scalloped plate

Love this gnocchi pesto carbonara so much! It’s a stunner and just so good. Cannot wait for y’all to make this one and share your thoughts, don’t forget to tag @butterbeready in your recreations- until next time! 🤟🏾

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gnocchi pesto carbonara with crispy pancetta on white scalloped white

Gnocchi Pesto Carbonara

  • Author: Quin Liburd
  • Prep Time: 10m
  • Cook Time: 20m
  • Total Time: 30m
  • Yield: 2 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This gnocchi pesto carbonara is comfort food at its finest! Flavor galore here with freshly ground black pepper, grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, rich egg yolks, and basil pesto. Tender potato gnocchi tossed together with a silky-slick, creamy pesto carbonara sauce and crispy pancetta. It’s an easy dish that hits the spot!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 large Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs, yolks only– at room temperature 
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons store-bought or homemade basil pesto, divided
  • 4 ounces diced pancetta
  • 1 pound uncooked potato gnocchi

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the egg yolks, freshly grated cheese, pepper, and 2 tablespoons of basil pesto together. Whisk together to combine, the mixture should resemble a thick paste. Then set aside.
  2. Add the pancetta into a large, nonstick sauté pan over medium heat. Cook the pancetta until golden brown and crisp, about 4-5 minutes. While the pancetta is cooking, proceed with cooking the gnocchi as directed in the next step, below. Then use a slotted utensil to transfer the crispy pancetta onto a paper towel lined plate- do not shut off the heat nor discard the fat in the pan!
  3. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Then reduce the heat to medium and add in the gnocchi. Boil the gnocchi until slightly tender, just until all of the gnocchi floats to the surface. Then remove the gnocchi from the water with a straining utensil and set aside- do not discard the gnocchi water!
  4. Add the drained gnocchi into the sauté pan with the residual pancetta fat. Lightly toss together to achieve a golden brown and crisp texture, stirring often, about 1-2 minutes on each side. Afterwards, reduce the heat to the lowest setting.
  5. Add 2 tablespoons of the hot gnocchi water into the bowl with the egg/pesto mixture. Whisk together until smooth. Pour the mixture into the sauté pan with the gnocchi and toss together to fully coat. Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon of basil pesto and mix until combined. Add 2-3 tablespoons more of the gnocchi water into the pan until the sauce is creamy and slick with a glossy color.
  6. Serve the gnocchi pesto carbonara immediately and top with the crispy pancetta, a sprinkling of cheese, and more freshly ground black pepper- to taste, if desired. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. Please read the blog post in its entirety for more tips + tricks.
  2. Use parmesan cheese as a substitute for parmigiano reggiano.

Keywords: gnocchi pesto carbonara, gnocchi pesto, carbonara, gnocchi basil, basil carbonara, easy carbonara, easy gnocchi