Vegetarian gnocchi and walnut pesto

Making these little potato parcels is easier than you think and they go wonderfully with homemade pesto

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Bowl of gnocchi - Vegetarian gnocchi and walnut pesto - Food -

Serves: 6


Total Time:

Prep Time:

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U.S. U.K. Conversion chart
  • 900g even-sized old potatoes
  • 225g-280g 'OO' plain flour, plus extra for shaping
  • 2 small eggs
  • Sea salt
  • 55g unsalted butter, softened and cubed
  • Freshly grated Parmesan to serve
  • FOR WALNUT PESTO (recipe by Shona Crawford Poole)
  • 175g finely chopped shelled walnuts
  • 1 clove peeled garlic
  • 1 basil leaves
  • 55g each freshly grated Parmesan and Pecorino cheeses
  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 90ml double cream


  1. The translation of gnocchi is "little lumps" which gives a misleadingly solid impression of these light Italian potato dumplings, and they are easier to make than fresh pasta. This recipe is adapted from Ursula Ferrigno's Complete Italian Cookery Course (Mitchell Beazley, £20)
  2. Make pesto - in a food processor, finely chop walnuts and garlic. Add basil leaves, Parmesan and Pecorino, unsalted butter and olive oil. Process briefly then turn into a bowl. Stir in double cream and season to taste. Refrigerate until needed - the pesto will keep for a week.
  3. Cook the potatoes in their skins in boiling water for 20 minutes until tender, or longer depending on size. Drain them well and, when cool enough to handle, peel.
  4. Sift 225g of the flour into a bowl or onto the worksurface, and make a well in the centre. Crack the eggs into the well.
  5. Push the still-warm potatoes through a sieve or ricer onto the flour and eggs from a height to lighten the potato with air as it falls. Add salt and the butter. Mix thoroughly, then knead to a soft dough, adding more of the flour if necessary.
  6. With floured hands, roll the dough into ropes up to 2.5cm thick, then cut them into pieces about 2cm long, or smaller. Press a finger into each piece to flatten, then draw your finger towards you to curl the sides.
  7. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and drop in about 20 gnocchi. Lower the heat and cook gently for 2-3 minutes, allowing the gnocchi to pop to the top of the pan, then counting for 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm. Repeat with the remainder.
  8. When the gnocchi are cooked, stir a little of the cooking water into half walnut pesto and stir into the drained gnocchi. Serve at once in warm bowls or plates, passing round additional pesto and freshly grated Parmesan.



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