This Potato Gnocchi with Bacon, Pecans and Broccoli features fluffy gnocchi combined with crunchy pecans and bacon. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil for a delicious meal!
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We had just arrived in Prague that morning on an overnight flight from Philadelphia. We were tired and jet-lagged, but we were determined to break the jet-lag by getting out and exploring the city. I noticed the weather forecast was calling for rain later that afternoon, but I had no idea what was actually in store for us. As we were wandering through the twisting streets of Old Town Prague, I noticed that the sky was getting dark. Ok, so the rain was coming. Then it got downright dark as midnight. Then it started pouring. All of a sudden, the streets (which had been packed with tourists just 5 minutes prior) were completely empty.
We quickly ducked into a toy store to (mostly) avoid getting drenched. Turns out the rainstorm wasn’t just a passing shower. The weather map on my phone showed a dark, dark red (like maroon red) band stretching for quite some distance. It was just us in this small shop, and fortunately the shop owner was very understanding. She even pulled a stool out for Laura to sit on while we waiting. (On a side note, the store was really fun! They had all sorts of puzzles and dragon figurines. If I’m going to be stuck in a small store for an hour, then I at least need some dragon figurines to entertain me!)
After about 45 minutes, I began to feel guilty standing in the middle of this store. The rain let up slightly, and we made a mad dash down the street to an Italian restaurant. (We’d been looking for traditional Czech food, but Italian was closer. Plus, Italian food is delicious!)
As we stepped in, we found ourselves in a long, narrow hallway with neon lights. I almost turned back around, but I did see a hostess stand way down at the end. Turns out the upstairs was a nightclub, but the hostess took us downstairs to the coolest underground restaurant. There were brick archways everywhere…pretty much the perfect ambiance for a couple glasses of wine and some Italian food!
Potato Gnocchi with Bacon, Pecans and Broccoli
Speaking of the food, I ordered this Potato Gnocchi with Bacon, Pecans and Broccoli. As soon as I saw gnocchi on the menu, my mind was set. (Well, I did look long and hard at the Carbonara, but the gnocchi won out in the end.) I posted a recipe using ricotta gnocchi several months back. As I noted in that post, potato gnocchi is a labor of love. It takes time, but man is it delicious once it’s done!
I first learned how to make potato gnocchi when I was studying in Italy after my junior year in college. I came home and made gnocchi for my family several times, but it was terrible. I mean, at the time, I thought it was good…but in hindsight it was terrible. The gnocchi were dense and heavy, not light and pillow-y like they’re supposed to be. I also served it loaded with cheese and red sauce. Now I have no issues with cheese and red sauce (yum!), but I’ve come to realize that gnocchi can stand alone in a recipe quite well.
Take this Potato Gnocchi with Bacon, Pecans and Broccoli. The dish is essentially gnocchi tossed with bacon, toasted pecans and broccoli. Super simple, but super delicious! The key here is to toss everything in a good olive oil. This isn’t the same olive oil that you might keep by the stove for cooking. This is the good stuff that you only use to finish a dish. The flavor of that olive oil really complements this dish. Overall, this is an excellent recipe that certainly will be made again in our house! (One of our good friends is vegetarian, and I’m always hunting for ideas for when they come over for dinner. This gnocchi – minus the bacon – is going on the list!)
Before we wrap up, I must say that a food mill is the absolute secret weapon when it comes to making good gnocchi. (Here’s the one I have. It’s simple, but it does the job well!) (affiliate link) That was my issue with the gnocchi I made way back in college. It was just mashed potatoes with way too many eggs and flour mixed in. Processing the potatoes through a food mill really does produce the light and airy potatoes that you need for making delicious gnocchi at home.
And as a second side note, you could absolutely use store-bought gnocchi here to make this a weeknight meal. Or you could make this one with ricotta gnocchi instead. No matter how you do it, I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do! Cheers!
Did you make this Potato Gnocchi with Bacon, Pecans and Broccoli at home? Leave a comment or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog)…I’d love to see your version!
Potato Gnocchi with Bacon, Pecans and Broccoli
For the Gnocchi
For the Gnocchi
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
- Wash and scrub potatoes. Using a fork, pierce each potato 8-10 times evenly around surface. Place potatoes on a microwave-safe plate and microwave on high for 4 minutes. Turn potatoes and microwave for 4 more minutes on high.
- Transfer potatoes directly onto oven rack and bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a fork can easily pierce the potato. (Note: This is a good time to prep the toppings for later.)
- Using a kitchen towel to hold the potatoes, peel each potato. Process peeled potatoes through a food mill. Place potatoes on a plate and let cool for 10 minutes.
- Place 3 cups of potatoes in a large bowl. (Note: Any extra potatoes will not be used in this recipe. Save them for another use.)
- Beat egg lightly and add to the bowl with potatoes; stir until just combined.
- Add flour, salt and Parmesan cheese; stir until just combined.
- Transfer mixture to a well-floured countertop. Knead until smooth, adding additional flour as needed.
- Divide dough into 8 equal pieces.
- On a well-floured countertop, roll each piece into a rope approximately ½” thick.
- Cut rope into segments about ¾” in length. Using the back of a fork, gently press down on each segment to create ridges in the dough.
- Transfer gnocchi onto the lined baking sheets. (Note: Ensure that gnocchi are not touching one another on the sheet.)
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add approximately ⅓ of the gnocchi to the pot. Cook for 1½-2 minutes. Remove gnocchi from water with a slotted spoon and place into large bowl. (Note: The gnocchi will rise to the surface after about 1-1½ minutes. Cook for 30 seconds more once they rise to the surface.)
- Repeat with remaining gnocchi.
- Add Parmesan, bacon, broccoli and pecans to bowl; toss until well combined.
- Divide mixture into serving bowls. Garnish with more Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil before serving.
Looking for more recipes using potatoes as the star? Take a look at these other favorites, too: