Gnocchi with Spinach and Peas, a.k.a. "Adult Mac & Cheese"


Side dish, main dish, midnight snack; this is one of my all-time faves. Throw in a bit of pulled pork, chicken or shrimp for your protein and this qualifies as a meal. Well, not really, but I have sat down and eaten the entire thing by myself.


Prep time
10 minutes
Cooking time
10 minutes
Total time
20 minutes


1 c
frozen baby peas (not thawed)
1⁄2 c
heavy cream
1 clv
Garlic (smashed)
1⁄2 t
red pepper flakes
1 lb
spinach (anywhere from 1/2 - 1lb ... play with it)
1 lb
dried gnocchi
1⁄4 c
grated parmesan


Simmer peas with cream, red-pepper flakes, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a 12-inch heavy skillet, covered, until tender, about 5 minutes.

Add spinach and cook over medium-low heat, uncovered, stirring, until wilted.

Meanwhile, cook gnocchi in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (3 tablespoons salt for 6 quarts water) until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta-cooking water, then drain gnocchi.

Add gnocchi to sauce with cheese and some of reserved cooking water and stir to coat. Thin with additional cooking water if necessary.


Do not skimp on the red pepper flakes. There are enough milk proteins in here to knock out any burn it may impart. If you actually lightly fry the flakes in the oil before adding the garlic (did this by accident it every time, now) they seem to release more flavor and color and you'll end up with a pink-ish dish.

I prefer to add a full pound of spinach (or as much as I can get into the pan) because I actually enjoy the texture it adds (and it makes me think I'm actually eating something healthy, which, let's face it, this is not.).

If serving as a side dish, I usually serve it with a less potent protein (a bland-ish pork chop, chicken or whitefish).