It’s no secret that I love comfort food and using doughy delights, like pasta, as vehicles for flavor. While I love all types of noodles — from pappardelle to soba — there’s a very special place in my heart for dumplings, especially gnocchi. Gnocchi is a potato-based dumpling that pairs well with all types of sauces. A creamy gorgonzola, a fresh tomato, buttery sage, anything you want! I personally love to serve gnocchi with a simple fresh pesto. The creaminess and airiness of the gnocchi pair perfectly with the zesty, bright flavors of a garlicky pesto. Gnocchi is the ideal comfort food and it only requires a few simple ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen.
I decided to make this gnocchi al pesto with yukon potatoes, instead of russet. Yukon potatoes are delightfully creamy and fluffy, making for a very airy texture. I also like to bake, not boil, the potatoes, which allows for better control over the dough moisture and makes the texture much more manageable during the dough-making process. Gnocchi is much easier to make than pasta, and just as fun & tasty! Enjoy!
Yukon Gnocchi al Pesto
– 2 cups fresh basil
– 3 garlic cloves
– 3/4 cups grated parmesan
– 1/2 cup olive oil
– 1/4 cup walnuts
– 6 large Yukon potatoes
– 1 cup flour, plus more for dusting
– 1 egg
1. Blend ingredients. Put fresh basil, garlic cloves, parmesan, olive oil, and walnuts in food processor & blend until the ingredients form a smooth paste. If you don’t have a food processor, use a blender. Set aside.
1. Bake Potatoes. Preheat oven at 400°F. Sprinkle a thin layer of kosher salt on a baking sheet and place potatoes on top of salt. Bake in oven until tender, ~45 minutes.
2. Rice Potatoes. Let the potatoes cool down, then cut open and scoop out the flesh. Rice the potatoes. If you don’t have a ricer, mash the potatoes until smooth. Spread mashed potatoes on a clean work surface to cool some more.
3. Egg & Flour. Add the egg and dust 3/4 cup of flour on top of the potatoes.
4. Mix Ingredients. Use a pastry blender, bench scraper, or your hands to mix the ingredients.
5. Knead It. Knead the dough into a ball and sprinkle the rest of the flour on top. Continue to knead the dough until homogeneous, then form the dough into a log.
6. Cut & Roll. Cut off a couple inches of the dough and roll the dough into a long rope, roughly 1/2-1 inch thick. Cut the rope into 1-inch wide little gnocchi. Continue with this process with the rest of the dough log.
7. Add Texture. Once you’ve turned all the dough into gnocchi, use a gnocchi board and roll the gnocchi in a downward motion on the board to add texture. If you don’t have a gnocchi board, light press down on the gnocchi with a fork to create lines.
8. Boil Gnocchi. Add gnocchi to boiling, salted water. The gnocchi will float to the top of the water once they are done cooking. Once the gnocchi float to the top, use a slotted spoon and scoop out the gnocchi into a mixing bowl.
9. Mix & Serve. Add a couple spoonfuls of pesto to the dumplings and gently fold the paste into the gnocchi until evenly coated. A little pesto goes a long way, so add to taste as you go. Once coated with pesto as desired, plate and serve with parmesan. Enjoy!