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:
  • 454 g (1 pound) russet potatoes, peeled
  • (1 pinch) nutmeg
  • (¼ teaspoon) ground black pepper
  • (½ teaspoon) salt, optional
  • (1 large) egg
  • 125 g (1 cup) all-purpose flour
  • For the Pesto Sauce:
  • (4 small) garlic cloves
  • 120 ml (½ cup) extra virgin olive oil
  • 80 g (4 cups) fresh basil leaves
  • 40 g (2 cups) Italian flat leaf parsley
  • 35 g (¼ cup) pine nuts, toasted
  • 35 g (¼ cup) grated parmesan cheese
  • 35 g (¼ cup) grated pecorino romano


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. To make the pesto place all ingredients into the Vitamix container and secure the lid.
  6. Start the blender on its lowest speed, then quickly increase to Variable 6, using the tamper to press ingredients toward the blades.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Coat the gnocchi with the pesto, transfer to warm plates or a platter, and serve immediately.

Chef's Notes

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.