It may sound odd, but keep reading. I promise it gets better.

Look… I too, was skeptical at first. I have no Italian blood in me and don’t know the first thing about Italian cooking, but for the majority of my life I’ve eaten gnocchi with tomato sauce or some sort of béchamel sauce. Clearly, vinegar is not on that list.

This recipe comes from my friend Barb, whose husband was a world-renowned chef. I’ve shared many of their recipes before (ice cream crepes, provolone stuffed fried zucchini), but I have to admit that this is my favorite. Perhaps because it was so unexpected? One evening during early December, Barb told me that I just had to make this gnocchi dish with a balsamic reduction. I actually put it off for a few weeks because I… just wasn’t sure.

Then one day last week mid-recipe development, my mind went blank. I took one for the team and chopped some vegetables.

But before we go any further, let me tell you something. I cheated.

I grabbed a box of whole wheat sweet potato gnocchi at the grocery store and this is what I used. It’s delicious. It’s easy. It’s foolproof. It leaves more time for you to make dessert. Do it.

Back to the dish.

I reduced the vinegar and let it cool. It got syrupy.

I literally burnt every single taste bud off my tongue when I attempted to lick the spoon.

Also, a word to the wise: don’t stick your face right over top of a reducing pot of vinegar. Or wine. Or when you are sauteing jalepenos. Why must I learn the hard way?

It’s the inner child in me. It’s why I always have to open the oven door mid-bake and why I always want to push the button that says “don’t push” in screaming red bubble letters.

I just love balsamic vinegar, so my anticipation for this dish was eating me alive. But I thought one thing would make it better.

Garlic basil butter.

I mixed some softened butter with fresh basil and minced garlic, and used it to saute the veggies and stir in at the end to finish the balsamic sauce. There really are no words.

I enjoy many of the savory dishes that I make, but I must admit – so many of them are developed because I’m trying to feed Mr. How Sweet a meal that won’t make him cry. It was refreshing to try a dish that scared me and was so out of my flavor comfort zone.

And it is now my favorite savory dish to date. Absolutely mouth watering. Layered with flavor. Mind blowing. And I can’t forget to mention the short ingredient list and ease.

Even Mr. How Sweet ended up eating this without any meat – that’s how fabulous it is. And you know it has to be delicious if he’s willing to forego his beloved chicken.

But it would be a lie of omission if I failed to mention on Tuesday he combined these leftovers with the grilled tomato basil chicken leftovers. That was pretty divine too.

Gnocchi with Balsamic Reduction

serves 2

1 pound gnocchi (fresh or packaged)

3/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 sweet onion, chopped

1/2 pepper, chopped (any color will do – I used red)

1/2 cup chopped mushrooms

3 tablespoons garlic basil butter

Heat a small saucepan over high heat and add balsamic vinegar. Allow vinegar to come to a boil them immediately reduce to a simmer. Simmer until vinegar reduces by half of the amount – about 8-10 minutes. Set aside and let cool.

Heat a skillet on medium-low heat and add 1 tablespoon garlic butter. Add chopped peppers, onions and mushrooms and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. While veggies are cooking, boil water for gnocchi and cook according to directions – they only take a few minutes, so make sure the veggies are almost finished cooking.

Drain gnocchi and add to veggies in skillet. Add vinegar reduction and garlic butter and stir to combine. Top with parmesan if desired. Serve and devour!

Garlic Basil Butter

1/4 cup softened butter

1 teaspoon freshly chopped basil

1 teaspoon minced garlic (or however much you want)

Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine.

I will pay you to go make this dish.

In cookies. I’ll pay you in cookies. I just need someone else to relish in it’s delightfulness.

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137 Responses to “Easy Dinner Idea: Balsamic Gnocchi.”

  1. #
    Chicago Cuisine Critique — January 6, 2011 @ 4:45 pm

    This definitely sounds like something I would never think of but now that I hear it, it sounds incredible. You could send some gnocchi leftovers my way (if there still are any that is). Thanks for sharing. :)


  2. #
    Susan Mallery — January 6, 2011 @ 4:47 pm

    This looks absolutely amazing. I’m not sure you’d need more time to make dessert. The meal itself would feel like dessert, every scrumptious bite!


  3. #
    mary (what's cookin' with mary) — January 6, 2011 @ 5:06 pm

    Believe it or not, I’ve never…. ever tried gnocchi!? This recipe sounds absolutely fabulous. Short ingredient list and easy to whip up! Can’t wait to try this one out . Thanks Jessica!!


  4. #
    Heather — January 6, 2011 @ 5:06 pm

    Gnocci is soo good! You’ve convinced me to make this. I’m trying not to eat out as much as I have been, and this seems easy and satisfying! Yum!


  5. #
    Melinda — January 6, 2011 @ 5:25 pm

    This sounds awesome! I hardly call it cheating to use premade gnocci when you put that mush other effort into the meal. Who has time to make their own gnocchi every time they want to enjoy it?!?!


  6. #
    Jil @ Big City, Lil Kitchen — January 6, 2011 @ 5:54 pm

    Wow,wow, wow. Seriously – this looks incredible and I have a package of whole wheat gnocci just waiting to be drench in balsamic goodness!


  7. #
    Meaghan @ — January 6, 2011 @ 6:03 pm

    The gnocci look amazing! I’ve never had the sweet potato variety, but I’ll definitely be on the lookout for them next time I hit up the grocery store.

    I’m a first time commenter, but I just want to say — I made those white chocolate cherry cream cookies of yours for every holiday party I went to and they were a huge hit!


  8. #
    Blond Duck — January 6, 2011 @ 6:10 pm

    I’ve never tried gnocchi!


  9. #
    Laurab @ foodsnobstl — January 6, 2011 @ 6:33 pm

    Ha ha, I definitely poured balsamic vinegar into a hot pan the other night. It nearly burned my nostrils and eyes off my face.


  10. #
    Heather @ Get Healthy With Heather — January 6, 2011 @ 7:25 pm

    Syrupy balsamic sounds so good!


  11. #
    Sara — January 6, 2011 @ 7:32 pm

    What a unique idea. I’ve reduced balsamic for strawberries and figs before, but using it for gnocchi is also a great idea. I’m sure the sweet/tart of the reduction paired perfectly with the nutty/sweet flavor of the sweet potato gnocchi. Thank you for sharing!


  12. #
    Lisa @Thrive Style — January 6, 2011 @ 7:57 pm

    Sounds great! I would love to try that—lots of my fave things all in one dish! …and who needs meat when you have pasta!!!



  13. #
    Megan (Braise The Roof) — January 6, 2011 @ 8:19 pm

    I love balsamic reductions! You friends are geniuses for thinking of using it on gnocchi. If I weren’t going out for dinner tonight, I’d totally make this. Maybe I’ll decide to be antisocial and make this tomorrow night instead of the usual Friday festivities. It’s legitimate to socialize with your food, right?


    • Jessica — January 6th, 2011 @ 9:43 pm

      It most certainly is.


  14. #
    Alison (Fueling for Fitness) — January 6, 2011 @ 8:23 pm

    yum, yum, yummmmmmmmmm…..!!!

    i want to eat this right now.


  15. #
    Naomi(onefitfoodie) — January 6, 2011 @ 9:32 pm

    I LOVE gnocchi but so scared to make it from scratch!!! do you have any good recipes for whole wheat sweet potato gnocchi?? I would love to try!!!


  16. #
    Liz @ IHeartVegetables — January 6, 2011 @ 9:44 pm

    Oh my gosh that looks FABULOUS!


  17. #
    Kate (What Kate is Cooking) — January 6, 2011 @ 9:45 pm

    Whole wheat and sweet potato gnocchi?! WOW! That looks delicious!


  18. #
    Stephanie — January 6, 2011 @ 9:47 pm

    Wow I’m not even a huge gnocchi fan but this looks great! Love the idea of the sweet n’ tangy balsamic with the herbed butter, what a fabulous combo of flavors!


  19. #
    Kelsey May — January 6, 2011 @ 9:47 pm

    Good grief. I have been craving this ever since you posted it this morning! I am definitely making it tonight! If I post about it on my blog, I will link to you!


  20. #
    Shannon — January 6, 2011 @ 9:58 pm

    Oh, my, gosh! That sounds AmAzInG! I love anything balsamic! I have to try this! Only, I detest mushrooms….do you think they could be left out, or could I substitute another veggie-like eggplant?


    • Jessica — January 6th, 2011 @ 10:00 pm

      Absolutely! In my opinion, it’s really the onions + garlic basil butter that give it some awesome flavor. Make it your own!


  21. #
    Rene Rodgers — January 6, 2011 @ 10:45 pm

    I love balsamic vinegar, but I have to admit that I’ve never had gnocchi. I’ll definitely have to try this soon!


    • Jessica — January 7th, 2011 @ 12:19 am

      Never?! Yes you do!


  22. #
    Moni'sMeals — January 6, 2011 @ 11:40 pm

    this works, YUM!


  23. #
    Jeanette — January 7, 2011 @ 12:08 am

    I’ve never seen whole wheat sweet potato gnocchi before. The balsamic vinegar reduction sounds heavenly. Great for nondairy eaters (I would just saute the vegetables in olive oil).


    • Jessica — January 7th, 2011 @ 12:18 am

      So true! I didn’t even think of that. Thanks! :)


  24. #
    Baking Serendipity — January 7, 2011 @ 1:29 am

    I like the idea of a little new flavor in my life this year. And, such a highly recommended recipe makes it a safe one :) Thanks for sharing…I love how simple this is and will definitely have to give it a shot!


  25. #
    Hannah — January 7, 2011 @ 2:21 am

    I really can’t express how grateful I am for this recipe. I ADORE balsamic, but the main reason is that I’ve only eaten gnocchi twice in my life, because my mum is allergic to wheat, tomatoes, dairy…. so all the normal gnocchi dishes are out. But now I can make this with gluten-free gnocchi and try it with her!


    • Jessica — January 7th, 2011 @ 2:39 am

      Wow! I am thrilled to help you out. I hope you guys try it and please let me know if you enjoy it.


  26. #
    Christa — January 7, 2011 @ 2:45 am

    My sister saw that I liked you on Facebook, so she did too and said “that lady is the bomb dot com.” Haha! you have 17 year old followers


    • Jessica — January 7th, 2011 @ 2:47 am

      LOL! I’m thrilled she likes me. But do I have to be called a “lady?” Now I feel old. :)


  27. #
    Annie@stronghealthyfit — January 7, 2011 @ 2:58 am

    Sounds fabulous to me.


  28. #
    Suzie — January 7, 2011 @ 9:17 am

    I wish you posted this one day earlier. I had some homemade sweet potato gnocchi languishing in my freezer and didn’t want to make it with tomato sauce since I thought it would taste weird. I ended up making my own pesto, but threw in a handful of fresh baby spinach in with the basil to bulk it up. I also used almonds instead of pine nuts since that’s what I had (which was pretty good, I might add). But the spinach made the pesto pretty bitter, and the gnocchi was edible, but not really enjoyable. I was kind of put off making it again but now that you’ve posted this, I think it will be back on the menu next week! Thanks!


  29. #
    Patty — January 7, 2011 @ 4:24 pm

    Love gnocchi. Where can I get sweet potato gnocchi. You’re site is fantastic. Found it a short time ago.


  30. #
    megan — January 7, 2011 @ 4:44 pm

    How many cookies would you pay me??? ;)


    • Jessica — January 8th, 2011 @ 2:09 am



  31. #
    Jenn AKA The Leftover Queen — January 7, 2011 @ 6:17 pm

    These look so good! Yummmmm! I think the balsamic reduction totally works!


  32. #
    the country cook @ Delightful Country Cookin — January 8, 2011 @ 1:03 am

    Love gnocchi! This sounds positively delicious…you’ve got my mind swimming with all of the different ways to serve it.


  33. #
    Debbie — January 8, 2011 @ 5:46 am

    Once again you have broadened my culinary horizons. I’ve never cooked with balsamic before. Until tonight. Of course, on my first attempt I ignored the balsamic for too long while I was chopping the veggies. Yeah. So on my first try cooking with balsamic, I also learned how to make balsamic rock candy. The second attempt turned out much better and I enjoyed this dish.


  34. #
    reluctant veggie — January 8, 2011 @ 6:10 pm

    we made a balsamic reduction the other night to put atop a lentil loaf. it was actually pretty amazing. i’m sure it’s fairly divine on sweet potato gnocchi as well.

    looked delish.


  35. #
    chelsey @ clean eating chelsey — January 8, 2011 @ 8:10 pm



  36. #
    Meaghan @ OhReillyWrites — January 9, 2011 @ 1:47 am

    If I ever go off my vegetarian diet, these are literally going to be the first things I make/eat!


    • Meaghan @ OhReillyWrites — January 9th, 2011 @ 1:47 am

      Andddd this was totally meant to go on the Elvis Bars post! Whoops.


      • Jessica — January 9th, 2011 @ 2:55 pm

        LOL! I was wondering. :)

    • Jessica — January 9th, 2011 @ 2:49 am

      Aren’t these vegetarian??


  37. #
    Tracy P — January 10, 2011 @ 2:33 pm

    I made this the other night and it was delicious. I used less butter and it was still very rich.


    • Jessica — January 10th, 2011 @ 4:12 pm

      Great to hear!


  38. #
    Heather — January 10, 2011 @ 3:26 pm

    i made this last night: SUCCESS! and so delightful! It took a bit of “remembering how to eat proper portions as I have started to lose weight again” willpower not to eat the entire thing in one sitting (victory was mine, by the way! woot woot!)


    • Jessica — January 10th, 2011 @ 4:11 pm

      So glad you liked it love!


  39. #
    Donna — January 10, 2011 @ 5:28 pm

    I have been dreaming about making this since i saw your post
    Yesterday i made the whole wheat sweet potato gnocchi (couldn’t find ANY in grocery stores) and today is the day
    Thanks SO much for the recipe, i have a feeling it will take my love of balsamic vinegar to a whole new level :)


  40. #
    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction — January 11, 2011 @ 8:05 pm

    This looks fabulous! You should come over here and make it for me since I can’t cook this week. :)


    • Jessica — January 12th, 2011 @ 3:18 am

      I’d love to!


  41. #
    Sam — January 12, 2011 @ 11:15 pm

    I made this last night with angelhair pasta and threw in some corn as well and it was fantastic! I am eating the left-overs for dinner tonight. (I had to use some serious self control not to eat it all last night!)


  42. #
    lisa — January 22, 2011 @ 11:09 pm

    i just went to trader joe’s today and got their whole wheat potato gnocchi. i cannot wait to try this recipe next week!


  43. #
    scarletmittens — July 2, 2011 @ 3:33 pm

    Would this work just aa well with regular gnocchi? sorry to be blonde…


  44. #
    Charlotte — June 15, 2012 @ 9:10 am

    WOW! this seems perfect for dinner tonight! I have some gnocci in that needs using, and couldn’t decide what to have and this sounds absolutely delightful! Definetly making this…may add chicken?!


  45. #
    Catherina Chiariello — July 8, 2013 @ 11:24 pm

    A vegetarian diet focuses on plants for food. These include fruits, vegetables, dried beans and peas, grains, seeds and nuts. There is no single type of vegetarian diet. “^,”

    Have a nice day



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