First posted: Dec 15, 2015

Crispy Gnocchi with Watercress Pesto



Cooks in:        Serves:4

For the Gnocchi
  • 2 medium-sized potatoes
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese (about 75g)
  • 1/2 cup plain flour (60g), and a little extra if necessary
  • A generous pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
Watercress Pesto
  • 50g fresh watercress, rinsed and largest stalks removed (or basil)
  • 2 Tbsp blanched almonds (or hazelnuts or macadamia nuts)
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
¼ cup grated parmesan or pecorino cheese
1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • ¼–½ tsp sugar, or more to taste
  • pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • You will also need a handful of fresh watercress leaves to garnish

What to do

1. Boil the potatoes with their skins on until cooked through and can be easily pierced with a knife. Remove, allow to steam and cool for a few minutes, then peel.

2. Mash the potatoes and mix together with the remaining ingredients until you have a smooth dough. If the mixture seems too wet, add in a little extra flour, but try and avoid adding too much as this will make the gnocchi heavy and dense. The dough needs to be just manageable.

3. Divide the dough in half and roll out each one into a long sausage shape, about 1.5cm thick. Cut each length into 2cm pieces, and gently make an indentation in each one using a fork that you have dipped in flour so that it doesn't stick.

4. Make the pesto: blitz all of the ingredients together in a food processor or using a stick blender, adjust seasoning to taste. Loosen with a little extra olive oil and hot water if necessary.

5. Cook the gnocchi:
Add the gnocchi in 2-3 batches to a large pot of boiling water, along with 1 Tbsp olive oil, and cook until the pieces rise to the surface (this takes just 1-2 minutes), remove with a slotted spoon and add to a large mixing bowl along with a drizzle of olive oil.

6. Add the pesto to the gnocchi and toss gently. Divide between warmed bowls and serve immediately with freshly grated parmesan and a few fresh watercress leaves. 

Notes: This is also delicious with crispy chorizo or bacon bits scattered over the top just before serving.

Extra Note: Could serve the gnocchi crispy, and fry until golden before tossing in the pesto.

Photo from 'Sarah Graham's Food Safari' by Ricardo de Leça.

All pantry staples such as spices, flours and nuts; as well as all beautiful fresh fruit and vegetables were kindly provided by Food Lover’s Market in Zimbabwe and South Africa.
All good coffee was provided by Nespresso, and perfectly pure water by Valpré.
We cooked everything on our amazing Defy stove, and wouldn’t have safaried anywhere at all without Suzuki, so thanks to our legendary sponsors.

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