Gnocchi with Tomatoes, Pancetta & Wilted Watercress

May/June 2007

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We use just a touch of pancetta—cured Italian-style bacon—to balance the sweet tomatoes and peppery watercress. Make it a meal: A salad tossed with a red-wine vinaigrette completes dinner.

"We love this basic recipe. We often make substitutions based on what we have available (bacon for pancetta, arugula for watercress, and we use any kind of pasta). I would never substitute on the basic recipe for the sauce. It is easy to...
Gnocchi with Tomatoes, Pancetta & Wilted Watercress

Makes: 4 servings, about 1 cup each

Active Time:

Total Time:


  • 2 ounces pancetta, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound gnocchi, (see Shopping Tip)
  • 4 ounces watercress, tough stems removed, coarsely chopped (6 cups packed)
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Put a large pan of water on to boil.
  2. Cook pancetta in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, sugar and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring, until the tomatoes are almost completely broken down, about 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar and salt. Remove from the heat.
  3. Cook gnocchi in the boiling water until they float, 3 to 5 minutes or according to package directions. Place watercress in a colander and drain the gnocchi over the watercress, wilting it slightly. Add the gnocchi and watercress to the sauce in the pan; toss to combine. Serve immediately, with Parmesan.

Tips & Notes

  • Shopping Tip: We like the texture of “shelf-stable” prepared gnocchi found in the Italian section of most supermarkets, but frozen and fresh refrigerated gnocchi also work well here.


Per serving: 377 calories; 7 g fat (3 g sat, 1 g mono); 16 mg cholesterol; 63 g carbohydrates; 14 g protein; 3 g fiber; 686 mg sodium; 329 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (50% daily value), Vitamin A (45% dv), Calcium & Iron (15% dv).

Carbohydrate Servings: 4

Exchanges: 4 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 fat

More From EatingWell

Recipe Categories

Total Time
30 minutes or less
Health & Diet Considerations
Low cholesterol
High calcium
Main Ingredient
Preparation/ Technique

Type of Dish
Main dish, Other
Ease of Preparation
May/June 2007
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