Arugula & Basil Pesto with Gnocchi and Mushrooms

I have been feeling more adventurous and motivated recently, in all things: work, domestic enterprises (aka cooking and decorating), finding new places to go and things to do. I think it’s a combination of this beautiful springtime weather (this time last year it was snowing on a weekly basis) and the excitement of my parents’ visit this weekend (I CANNOT WAIT!). Last week I was inspired by a recipe posted by Chocolate Covered Race Medals. She made delightful looking arugula gnocchi. Hello, yum much? So I thought I would mix it up a bit and test out arugula and basil pesto with gnocchi. I am a wee bit obsessed with pesto, and the hubs and I are huge fans of arugula. It’s got a lemony peppery taste that just brightens up any dish.

After hunting for a good recipe, I found this one courtesy of Emeril Lagasse (BAM!). I added some sautéed mushrooms and my favorite Parmesan Pesto Sprinkle from Savory Spice Shop (just in case it wasn’t pesto-y enough), but otherwise followed the recipe this time. Luckily we made so much pesto that we have extra left over. Needless to say there will be a pesto pizza in our future, as in tomorrow night’s dinner.

Arugula and Basil Pesto with Gnocchi and Mushrooms


4 cups baby arugula

4 cups basil leaves

So green!
So green!

1 cup pine nuts, toasted

½ cup grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus ¼ cup to mix in later

Salt and pepper to taste

Dash of Parmesan Pesto Sprinkle

1 cup sautéed mushrooms

1 pound fresh gnocchi (we made a half pound and saved the rest of the pesto for pesto pizza!)


In the bowl of a food processor (or Vitamix), combine arugula, basil, toasted pine nuts, Parmesan, and garlic. With the motor running, add 1 cup olive oil in a slow stream until emulsified. Season with salt, pepper, and Parmesan Pesto Sprinkle to taste.

Sautee the mushrooms in a dash of olive oil in a separate pan. Once sautéed, keep them in the pan, as you will use this to combine the mushrooms with gnocchi and pesto. In a large pot of boiling salted water, add the gnocchi. Cook until they rise to the surface (just a few minutes for fresh pasta, but check package instructions.) Drain well, reserving ¼ cup of the pasta water.

In the pan with the mushrooms, combine pesto with remaining ¼ cup of olive oil and reserved pasta water. Pesto should become a sauce-like consistency. Add gnocchi and toss to combine. Serve warm and garnish with extra parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Delicious meal, and enough for leftover creations - that's the best!
Delicious meal, and enough for leftover creations – that’s the best!

It was easy-peasy and so delicious. I am so excited for tomorrow’s dinner. Imagine it: pesto pizza with grilled chicken, mushrooms, sliced tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. Is it tomorrow night yet?

Don’t you just love pesto – what’s your favorite surprise ingredient?  Anything fun on the menu this week?

5 thoughts on “Arugula & Basil Pesto with Gnocchi and Mushrooms

  1. Yeah, I planted some basil plants, but they got eaten by critters. So I use spinach mostly as it’s cheaper than basil. And what’s up with the cost of pine nuts? Love me some pesto though!

    1. I grew basil last summer in a pot and it was the best decision ever! It had the perfect mixture of sun and shade, was raised up so as not to be eaten by critters, and turned into a basil bush! Might be worth giving it a go! It just needs to be a pot to allow water to drain. And I completely hear you on the pine nuts. When I have to buy them, I try to use them in everything to make it worth my while.

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