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Gnocchi in a Pesto Sauce

Try making homemade gnocchi!  It's delicious with this authentic Italian pesto sauce. 


  • For the gnocchi

  • 500g floury potatoes (large baking potatoes are best or King Edward or Maris Piper)

  • fine salt

  • 1–2 medium eggs, preferably free-range or organic

  • 150–200g plain flour, plus extra to dust

  • polenta, to dust

  • For the Pesto

  • 50g fresh basil, leaves picked

  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed

  • 50g pine nuts

  • 50g freshly grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese

  • 8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra storing (optional)

  • fine salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 1.

    Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil over a high heat. Add the unpeeled potatoes and cook until tender; this could take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the size of your potatoes. They are ready when they fall off the blade of a knife easily. It’s important to cook the potatoes with their skins on, as this helps prevent excess moisture getting in.

  • 2.

    Drain the potatoes and peel them while they’re still hot – use a tea towel to help hold them. Mash the potatoes while they are still hot, too. Try to make the mash as smooth as possible. Season with a pinch of salt and leave to cool for 10 minutes.

  • 3.

    Add an egg and 150g flour to the mash and mix to form a malleable dough. It needs to be firm and not too sticky. If it seems too soft, add some extra flour; if it is too stiff, add the second egg. Taste and add more salt if needed.

  • 4.

    Dust the work surface with flour. Take off a handful of dough and roll it into a long sausage shape – the narrower the better. Using a knife, work your way along the dough cutting it into small, evenly sized squares, about 1cm wide. Place your finished gnocchi on trays dusted with polenta. Be careful not to overcrowd the trays or allow them to touch each other as they will stick together in a clump. (At this point you can freeze the gnocchi and once frozen bag them up to save on storage.)

  • 5.

    Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil to get ready to cook the gnocchi.

  • 6.

    Meanwhile make your pesto; put the basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan and oil in a food processor, and blitz until smooth. Season to taste, with salt and pepper.

  • 7.

    Carefully place the gnocchi in the boiling water and cook for about 2 minutes, until they start floating to the top – when they float that means they will be cooked! Using a spider or a slotted spoon, transfer the gnocchi to a serving dish. Mix in your pesto and serve.

  • 8.

    Molto semplice!

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