This is one of those meals that looks incredibly complicated but can actually be made in one skillet on a busy weeknight. The creamy gnocchi is comforting and tossed with fresh spinach before being topped with an easy pork tenderloin and finished in the oven! Dinner, like a pro with minimal cleanup.
Pork tenderloin is one of my secret weapons in the kitchen. (Almost as much as I love a quick weeknight recipe) It’s a quick-cooking cut that, as it’s name promises, cooks up tender (when handled with respect) that can be crafted into a variety of dishes and recipes.
From campfire cooking, to pan searing, it’s an easy cut and I love showing people how to lean in on it.
But, first and foremost….
Pork Tenderloin is NOT a Pork Loin.
The pork loin and pork tenderloin are not the same cut. The tenderloin is much smaller and cooks at a different rate than the loin overall. They are not easily substituted in recipes and often, not even handled the same way when cooking.
The tenderloin is made for quick cooking.
The lean little pork filet, the prime choice of pork, comes in around a pound and is ideal for quick cooking. Aka, an elevated weeknight recipe champion. And is perfect for quick grilling, smoking, and (a personal fall favorite) pan-searing any which way you can think to use.
(Heck, it’s one of my favorites for campfire recipes too!)
Just keep in mind, the size of the cut makes for a fast cook. To keep it from drying out, I love a hot and quick cook where the outside geats seared and locks in the natural juices.
Unlike when pork used to be cooked too tough and to enjoy, the USDA recommends an internal temp of 145 degrees F for serving so that it’s still juicy with a very light pink center.
Girl Carnivore Tip: The tenderloin can be a pricy cut, often $7.99 and up at the market, so watch for sales when they drop substantially in price, or do yourself a quick kitchen favor and buy the pre-seasoned one’s to pair off with quick side dishes.
What you need for this recipe
For this recipe, you just need a pork tenderloin, frozen gnocchi, parmesan, asiago, and mozzarella cheese. Then grab some fresh spinach, leftover cooked bacon, and a pinch of Dijon mustard.
After quickly searing the pork to help with texture and locking in flavor, everything quickly comes together in one skillet before sliding in the oven to finish off.
Sweet potato or butternut squash gnocchi is a great alternative to traditional gnocchi. Or, if you don’t like gnocchi, you can use diced sweet potato or roasted butternut squash instead. Just cook either until they are fork-tender before serving.
Easy Pork Tenderloin over Three Cheese Gnocchi
- 10-12″ Cast Iron Skillet or other oven safe skillet
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 1 lbs Pork tenderloin
- ½ Onion chopped
- 2 cloves Garlic minced
- 1 12 oz pack frozen gnocchi
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup asiago cheese
- 10 oz fresh spinach
- 4 oz bacon cooked and chopped
- ¼ cup mozzarella cheese
Preheat the oven
- Set the oven to 375 degrees F while you ready everything for this dish.
- Preheat the skillet over medium heat.
- Add the oil to the pan and swirl to coat.
- Add the pork tenderloin and sear on all sides, about 2 minutes a side.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
- Add the remaining oil to the pan and swirl to coat.
- Add the onion and saute 5 minutes until soft.
- Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds longer.
- Toss the gnocchi into the pan and fry on all sides, until just golden.
Make Cheese Sauce
- In a small bowl, whisk together the heavy cream and mustard.
- Pour over the gnocchi and sprinkle with the parmesan and asiago cheese.
- Toss to coat.
- Fold in the spinach and bacon.
- Nestle the pork loin back into the pan and sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese on top.
- Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until cheese is melted and pork reads 140 degrees on an sinstantread thermomoter.
- Rest for 5 minutes, when the pork reaches 145 degrees F, before slicing pork in thin strips on a bias against the grain to serve.
- Pork can be wrapped in foil and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Store the gnocchi in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave with a splash of water or milk to keep moist.
- For this recipe, I used a pre-seasoned pork tenderloin from AdaptableMeals.