gnocchi with lemon and parsley pesto

Gnocchi is one of those foods I hadn’t even tried until I was in my twenties, but when I did try it, I instantly loved it. I love potatoes and pasta, so what’s not to love about a pasta -like potato mini dumpling-ish?

When I was working as a nanny in Switzerland, the mother in the family was from the German part, and she made something that I now think was their version of gnocchi. They served it with this cherry sauce and cheese though, so it was quite … interesting. Not bad, just not what I expected. Very sweet.

Anyway, I later tried gnocchi again, this time making it myself, and I was sold. My favourite recipe is gnocchi with pancetta, spinach and a Parmesan cream sauce. It’s from BBC Good Food and will undoubtedly make an appearance on here sooner or later! Chewy gnocchi, salty pancetta, and a cheesy, creamy sauce. It’s amazing. That’s why I thought that this other recipe from BBC Good Food would be good, but I feel really disappointed.

First, I don’t like when recipes call for one/two/etc. of something. There can be a big difference between one lemon and another, and you can end up with a dish that doesn’t taste like you expect it to. In my opinion recipes should be as specific as possible, and then you can amend as you please.

Second, I think this recipe would have benefited from a more ‘normal’ basil-based pesto. I like parsley (don’t like chives so skipped them) but I don’t think it blended well with the lemon and the gnocchi.

I’m actually quite sad, because it’s the second recipe in a row from BBCGF that I’ve been disappointed with – and I’ve never been disappointed with one of their recipes before! Hopefully my next try (stir-fry) should meet my cravings.


Ingredients (2 portions)

400 g gnocchi

1 clove of garlic

a small bunch of parsley

(a small bunch of chives)

2 tbsp pine nuts

2 tbsp Parmesan

the juice and zest of one lemon

4 tbsp olive oil


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Finely chop the garlic, parsley and chives and add to a bowl. Add Parmesan (or similar hard Italian cheese), the lemon juice and zest, and olive oil and set aside.

Boil the gnocchi in lightly salted water. If you’ve never made gnocchi before it’s really quick. 2 minutes usually does it, but you’ll know that they’re done by the fact that they’re all starting to pop up to the surface.

Stir in the pesto with the gnocchi and enjoy (possibly with extra Parmesan on top).


My lemon was on the large side, so my dish became very lemony. Also, though the recipe called for 4 tbsp olive oil, I only took 2, because I thought 4 sounded like way too much, and should therefore probably have halved my amount of lemon juice.

I would recommend that after you’ve drained your gnocchi you give them a toss in a frying pan. In my other recipe the gnocchi is fried for a few minutes together with the pancetta, giving it a nicer texture.

Ultimately though, I think that I would have preferred something like The Fit Housewife’s lemon-basil pesto to go with it instead.

And what’s the worst part about not liking a recipe? When you have to eat the leftovers for lunch the next day.

/t

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