Pan-Seared Gnocchi with Bacon and Broccoli Rabe

This pan-seared gnocchi with bacon and broccoli rabe is indulgent yet light, and packed full of flavor. It would be equally perfect for lunch or dinner, or hell, any time of day! For those that may not know, broccoli rabe, also called rapini, is a bitter green that is frequently associated with Mediterranean cuisine. The leaves, stems, and buds are all edible, which I love (no waste)! Now, I know what you’re thinking: I don’t like bitter green vegetables! Please, please, please don’t let the word “bitter” turn you off. Yes, the broccoli rabe has a slightly bitter taste, but it’s actually really delicious when paired with rich ingredients, which we have done here. The bitterness of the green cuts through the richness of the dish and balances it out perfectly. I love experimenting with new vegetables, and I’ve been loving broccoli rabe lately. This recipe is pretty simple, and will come together in about 30 minutes!

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To make this dish, you will need one bunch of broccoli rabe, one 16 oz package of gnocchi, three pieces of bacon, one shallot, three cloves of garlic, red pepper flakes, parmesan, olive oil, and butter! First, you want to chop your broccoli rabe in about one inch pieces. Then, cut your shallot into thin strips and mince the garlic. Finely chop the bacon and set aside. Grate about 1/4 – 1/3 cup of parmesan. I’m using Parmesan-Reggiano here for more flavor, but regular parmesan will work great too!

Start by heating a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add diced bacon and cook until crispy, about 10 minutes. Transfer the cooked bacon to a paper towel, reserving 1 tbsp. of bacon fat in the pan. Add shallots, broccoli rabe, salt to taste, and red pepper flakes to the pan, and cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chopped garlic to mixture and cook another three minutes, making sure the garlic doesn’t burn (that can ruin any dish) by stirring frequently.

Remove broccoli rabe mixture from pan, and put it into a bowl for now. Wipe the pan with a paper towel, then add 1 tsp. of butter and 1 tbsp. of olive oil. Heat the pan for a minute or two, then add the gnocchi in a single layer and cook for three minutes on medium-high. Flip/stir the gnocchi every three minutes until each side is lightly browned, about nine minutes. Once the gnocchi is browned, add the broccoli rabe mixture back to the pan along with the final tablespoon of butter and mix until melted and well incorporated. Remove from heat and top with crispy bacon bits and parm, then serve immediately.

Note: This recipe is not saucy, but if you like a saucier dish, you can add about 1/3 cup of heavy cream to the dish after browning the gnocchi, simmering until thickened. Once the cream is thickened, proceed with recipe as usual.

Click here to get my favorite skillet to make this dish! A good non-stick skillet is a great staple for any home cook’s arsenal.

Pan-Seared Gnocchi with Bacon and Broccoli Rabe

Makes (4) 1 1/2 cup servings

Ingredients:

  • (1) 16 oz package Gnocchi
  • 3 pieces of Bacon
  • 1 bunch Broccoli Rabe
  • 1 Shallot
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • 1/8 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. unsalted Butter, divided
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup Parmesan
  • 1/3 cup Heavy Cream (Optional)
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Chop broccoli rabe into one inch pieces. Slice the shallot into thin strips, and mince the garlic. Finely chop the bacon and set aside. Grate the parmesan.
  2. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat for one minute, then add bacon and cook until crispy, about 10 minutes. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 1 tbsp. of fat in the pan. Set bacon on paper towels to drain.
  3. Add shallots, broccoli rabe, and red pepper flakes, and salt to taste. Cook over medium-high for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, and continue to cook about three minutes longer, ensuring the garlic does not burn.
  4. Remove broccoli rabe mixture from pan, and place in a bowl. Wipe the pan with a paper towel, then add 1 tsp. butter and 1 tbsp. olive oil. Heat the pan for a minute or two, then add the gnocchi in a single layer and cook for three minutes on medium-high. Flip/stir the gnocchi every three minutes until each side is lightly browned, about nine minutes. (If you are adding cream, remove gnocchi and add cream and simmer until thickened, then add gnocchi back to the pan)
  5. Once the gnocchi is browned, add the broccoli rabe mixture back to the pan along with the final tablespoon of butter and mix until melted and well incorporated.Remove from heat and top with crispy bacon bits and parm, then serve immediately!

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