Gnocchi with Basil Pesto
These Italian potato dumplings are particularly delicious when served with pesto. You can serve the gnocchi as an appetizer or as a side dish.
- For the Gnocchi:
- 1 pound (454 g) russet potatoes, peeled
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt, optional
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
- For the Pesto Sauce:
- 4 small garlic cloves
- ½ cup (120 ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cups (80 g) fresh basil leaves
- 2 cups (40 g) Italian flat leaf parsley
- ¼ cup (35 g) pine nuts, toasted
- ¼ cup (35 g) grated parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup (35 g) grated pecorino romano
- To make the gnocchi, place the potatoes in a large pot, cover with water, add a teaspoon of salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain and return to the pot. Heat over low heat, stirring to prevent browning, until the potatoes are completely dry.
- Mash the potatoes with a ricer or through a food mill and season to taste with salt, pepper, and a little nutmeg. Set aside to cool completely.
- Add the egg to the potatoes, and gently mix in 1 cup of the flour. Do not overwork the dough or the gnocchi will be tough. If the dough is very sticky, gently stir in more flour. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Using your hands, roll out pieces of the dough into ropes about 1 inch in diameter. Cut the long cylinders into 2-inch pieces. With gentle pressure, roll the dough pieces over a gnocchi board, or over the tines of a fork, pressing and rocking the dumpling with your thumb, to achieve a ridged edge on one side and an indentation on the other. Set the gnocchi aside on parchment-covered baking sheets while you make the pesto.
- To make the pesto place all ingredients into the Vitamix container and secure the lid.
- Start the blender on its lowest speed, then quickly increase to Variable 6, using the tamper to press ingredients toward the blades.
- Bring a pot or large saucepan full of generously salt, optionaled water to a boil. Meanwhile, heat 6 heaping tablespoons of the pesto in a large frying pan over medium-low heat.
- Drop the gnocchi into the boiling salt, water and cook until they rise to the surface, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon and transfer to the frying pan, along with ¾ cup of the gnocchi cooking water.
- Coat the gnocchi with the pesto, transfer to warm plates or a platter, and serve immediately.
Gnocchi is a great appetizer for an Italian feast, but it’s also a filling side dish when paired with grilled meats, fish, or vegetables.