Add this rich and flavor-packed Gnocchi Bolognese recipe to your 30-minute meals list because you’re going to want to make it again and again! Store-bought gnocchi gets pan-seared and then tossed in a simple beef and tomato Bolognese sauce. Weeknight dinners just got easier and so incredibly delicious!

A spatula stirs the gnocchi into the Bolognese sauce.

Justin’s Gnocchi Bolognese Recipe

You guys. I have never been more excited to share a recipe with you then this easy, 30-minute gnocchi pasta dish with a quick bolognese sauce.

This recipe took FOREVER to come up with a name. First it was Justin’s Pasta, then Gnocchi Bolo-Jay’s. And while Justin’s Gnocchi Bolognese doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, I thought you all might have a better idea of what you’re getting into here! (You can find all of Justin’s recipes here!)

The first time Justin made this dish I was literally salivating. All of that rich, kinda’ spicy, and full-of-depth complex flavor was created in under 30 minutes?!

How in the world did he DO that?! 

So the next time… I watched. And I copiously took notes on this ultimate comfort food. 

Ahhh yes. Make sure to get a good sear on the store-bought pillowy gnocchi, let the red pepper flakes simmer in the oil to release their flavor, and use the right ratio of beef to tomatoes to make a perfect sauce.

It’s become a weeknight favorite of ours and I have a feeling it will be on your dinner menu soon, too!

Ground beef, gnocchi, tomatoes, shallots, red pepper flakes, garlic, and herbs are the main ingredients for this dish.

Ingredients

  • Beef. Make sure you grab an 85/15 blend or else it won’t release enough fat to sear the gnocchi in. While you can use 90/10, you will need to add extra oil. If preferred, you can opt for Italian sausage, but that will affect the flavor.
  • Gnocchi. A store-bought version works just fine for easy gnocchi. I got mine from Trader Joe’s. You can also use cauliflower gnocchi, or whip up your own homemade gnocchi.
  • Tomatoes. San Marzano tomatoes have the most flavor. If can’t find those, opt for regular cherry or grape tomatoes. Avoid other larger tomatoes as they’ll have too much liquid and seeds.
  • Shallot. This smaller, sweet relative of the onion adds the right balance to this dish.
5 Secrets to Healthier Family Dinners
Tips & recipes for getting yummy — and healthy — meals on the table.

How to Make Gnocchi Bolognese

Please see the recipe card below for ingredient amounts and more detailed instructions.

1. Brown the Beef

Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a large non-stick skillet over medium or medium-high heat. After it’s hot, carefully place the ground beef in the center and cook for 7 to 8 minutes.

For the last few minutes, let the meat cook undisturbed so you get brown pieces. Remove the beef from the skillet to set it on a plate. Scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any browned bits.

Ground beef is cooked in a skillet.

2. Sear the Gnocchi

Drop the gnocchi into the same skillet with at least 2 tablespoons of beef grease. (Add oil if necessary.) Cook the potato gnocchi for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want a light sear.

Carefully add in 2 to 3 tablespoons of water and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, just until the gnocchi are tender. Turn off the skillet off and let them rest.

Gnocchi is seared in a skillet.

3. Cook the Red Pepper Flakes

In another heavy-bottomed pot, like a large Dutch oven or deep skillet, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over low heat. Stir in the red pepper flakes with a wooden spoon and cook for 2 to 3 minutesAdd the diced shallot, and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes more.

Shallot is stirred into the red pepper flakes in a skillet.

4. Add the Tomatoes

Stir the tomato paste and 2 tablespoons of water into the shallots and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes while stirring until the paste isn’t bright red anymore.

Carefully mix in the remaining water 1 tablespoon at a time, being sure to mix well after each addition.

Stir in the tomatoes and cook for 5 to 6 minutes. They will become tender. Then smash them with the back of the spatula or a spoon to make them burst. Stir in the garlic, oregano, salt, and black pepper. Cook another 1 to 2 minutes.

A spatula crushes tomatoes as they cook.

5. Bring it All Together

Stir the crumbled beef and cooked gnocchi into the tomato sauce. Serve it up with some Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.

A skillet is full of a delicious gnocchi Bolognese dish.

FAQs

What is gnocchi Bolognese made of? 

Gnocchi Bolognese is a delightful combination of potato gnocchi and a meaty, tomato sauce. It is usually cooked with Italian seasoning or fresh herbs, as well.

What meat goes best with gnocchi? 

Just about any meat goes great with gnocchi! It’s delicious with chicken, beef, and pork, especially. The Bolognese meat sauce in this recipe has ground beef.

What makes Bolognese different than spaghetti sauce? 

While these terms are often used interchangeably, the main difference is that a traditional Bolognese sauce always has meat while spaghetti sauce does not.

Recipe Tips

  • DIY it. For the best results (albeit time-consuming) check out this homemade potato gnocchi recipe.
  • A little fatty. Grab an 85/15 blend when making this meaty sauce.
  • Some like it hot. Add extra red pepper flakes if you want a little kick to the fresh tomato sauce.
  • Go fresh. Grate your own Parmesan cheese for the most flavor in this easy dinner.
A fork digs into a white bowl with gnocchi Bolognese.

What to Serve with Gnocchi Bolognese?

When you serve up this irresistible dish, add one of these sides for a healthy and well-rounded meal.

Go green with Steamed BroccoliRoasted Asparagus, or Air Fryer Green Beans.

Or, choose another veggie like Instant Pot Glazed Carrots or Italian Oven-Roasted Vegetables.

More Italian Pasta Dishes

When you’re craving Italian, skip the takeout and whip up any of these delicious recipes.

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 5 votes

Gnocchi Bolognese Recipe

Add this rich and flavor-packed Gnocchi Bolognese recipe to your 30-minute meals list because you're going to want to make it again and again! Store-bought gnocchi gets pan-seared and then tossed in a simple beef and tomato Bolognese sauce.
A spatula stirs the gnocchi into the Bolognese sauce.
Yield 5 servings
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
Total 30 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 3 Tbsp. oil avocado or olive, divided
  • 1 lb. ground beef 85/15 or 90/10
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 shallot finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • ½ cup water divided
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes San Marzano
  • ¾ tsp. oregano dried
  • 4 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 1 tsp. salt to taste
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 lb. gnocchi store-bought
  • Parmesan cheese for serving
  • Parsley for serving

Instructions 

  • Brown the Beef: Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add ground beef and cook for 7-8 minutes, crumbling the meat as you do. Let the meat cook, undisturbed, for the last couple of minutes so some of the pieces brown slightly. Remove the beef from the skillet and add to a separate plate.
    3 Tbsp. oil, 1 lb. ground beef
  • Sear the Gnocchi: Add the gnocchi to the skillet with the remaining beef grease, you want at least 2 tablespoons remaining. If you don't have that, add more oil until you do. Cook gnocchi for 5-6 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally, or until lightly seared. Add 2-3 Tbsp. of water and continue cooking for an additional 1-2 minutes, or until tender. Turn off the heat and let gnocchi rest in the skillet until ready to use.
    1 lb. gnocchi
  • Heat Pepper and Shallot: In a separate pot or skillet over medium-low heat add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and the red pepper flakes. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Increase the heat to medium and add the diced shallot. Saute for 2-3 minutes, or until tender.
    3 Tbsp. oil, 1 tsp. red pepper flakes, 1 shallot
  • Add Tomato Paste: Mix in the tomato paste along with 2 Tbsp. of water. Cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, or until the paste is no longer bright red. Add in the remaining ¼ cup water, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing well after each addition.
    3 Tbsp. tomato paste, ½ cup water
  • Add Tomatoes: Stir the tomatoes into the sauce and cook for 5-6 minutes, or until they become tender. Once soft, smash the tomatoes with the back of the spatula or spoon you’re using to make them burst. Add the garlic, oregano, salt, and black pepper and continue cooking for 1-2 more minutes.
    1 pint cherry tomatoes, ¾ tsp. oregano, 4 cloves garlic, 1 tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • Stir in Beef and Gnocchi: Mix in the crumbled beef and seared gnocchi. Serve with Parmesan cheese and finely chopped fresh parsley. Enjoy!
    Parmesan cheese, Parsley

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 5 votes

Video

Notes

Prep-Ahead Instructions:
You can make the sauce a day or two in advance and warm it up before serving.
Storage Directions:
Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 to 5 days. It’s best to flash-freeze the leftover gnocchi separately from the leftover Bolognese sauce. Both will keep for up to 6 months in the freezer. Warm this dish back up in a pot on the stove top over medium heat.
Recipe Tips:
  • DIY it. For the best results (albeit time-consuming) check out this homemade potato gnocchi recipe.
  • A little fatty. Grab an 85/15 blend when making this meaty sauce.
  • Some like it hot. Add extra red pepper flakes if you want a little kick to the fresh tomato sauce.
  • Go fresh. Grate your own Parmesan cheese for the most flavor in this easy dinner.

Nutrition

Calories: 493kcal, Carbohydrates: 40g, Protein: 21g, Fat: 28g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 14g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 64mg, Sodium: 849mg, Potassium: 599mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 905IU, Vitamin C: 25mg, Calcium: 71mg, Iron: 7mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Made this recipe?Leave a comment below!
5 Secrets to Healthier Family Dinners
Tips & recipes for getting yummy — and healthy — meals on the table.

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