Growing up in an Italian household I have been infatuated with all things pasta. The stand out dish that is my always go to meal at restaurants would have to be gnocchi. While seen as a delicacy, it can be made at home and with some practice can taste even better. Gnocchi can be served with many different sauces but it is mostly served in Italy with a vegetarian pesto base.
According to Hello Fresh, vegetarianism has a long history as seen with the Hello Fresh timeline. It eventually found its way into Australia during the early naughties. So I thought I’d keep it traditional by making my own vegetarian gnocchi. To start with you will want to start on the gnocchi as it can take some time to cook. Start by peeling 4 potatoes and boiling them to make mashed potato.
While they are boiling you can start on the pesto sauce. A food processor will be your friend here, otherwise a mortar and pestle will also get the job one. Start it of by crushing/processing 2 cups of fresh basil leaves. Add once done add in a quarter cup of pine nuts. Once those two ingredients are processed add in half cup of parmesan, half of olive oil and 2 cloves of garlic. This will be the sauce for your gnocchi so place it to the side until the gnocchi is complete.
By this time the potatoes should have cooked. Drain the excess water and mash them into a separate bowl. You want to add one egg along with flour in increments starting with 1 cup, then half a cup and then half a cup again. Carefully mixing the ingredients together as the potatoes will still be hot. My recommendation would be to use a wooden spoon. Add a handful of parmesan cheese along with some salt and pepper to complete the dough process.
Cut the dough into four pieces and kneed them individually. After a considerable amount roll it into a long snake like shape and use a fork to cut it into smaller cube like pieces. This part will be the most time consuming so it is recommended having some music on to help the time fly past. Once you have cut the smaller pieces off the long “snake” use a fork to groove the gnocchi and give it a better shape. After you have cut and forked every individual piece you want to bring some more water to boil.
Place the gnocchi pieces in the water to make sure that they aren’t touching to avoid overcrowding and the gnocchi from clumping together. You will more than likely have to do more than one set of cooking them. Place the cooked gnocchi on a plate covered with alfoil to keep them warm.
Once all of pieces are cooked, place the gnocchi and the pesto into a serving dish and serve with parmesan cheese and garnish with salt and pepper. Perfecting the method does take time but don’t be afraid to try it out with different sauces and experience the joy of Italian food yourself!