April is my favourite month for foraging, and this simple gnocchi recipe is the perfect celebration of springtime’s bright green shoots, combining heady wild garlic and tender nettle leaves. Finishing the fluffy gnocchi off by pan-frying in a little butter gives a wonderful textural contrast to this simple yet stunning dish. Just the thing to tuck into after a morning of foraging.
INGREDIENTS (SERVES 2)
FOR THE GNOCCHI
550g King Edward Potatoes (should yield 225g cooked flesh)
75g plain flour
generous pinch of salt
twist of black pepper
25g nettle leaves, finely chopped
3 egg yolks, beaten
FOR THE PESTO
50g wild garlic leaves
30g parmesan, finely grated
40g pine nuts
100ML EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
1 tbsp lemon juice
pinch of salt
generous twist of black pepper
Generous handful of finely grated Parmesan.
METHOD DIFFICULTY: MEDIUM
Preheat the oven to 180°C
Wash and thoroughly dry the potatoes and pierce each with a knife. Sprinkle a little rock salt over the centre of a baking tray and place the potatoes on top. Bake in the oven for about an hour until cooked through.
Meanwhile make your pesto by combining all of your ingredients in a food processor and blitz until you get a coarse texture. Set aside.
Sift the flour into a bowl and stir through the semolina, salt, pepper and nettle leaves.
While the potatoes are still hot, peel off the skin and scoop out the flesh. Pass the flesh through a ricer into the bowl of flour. If you do not have a ricer, you can lightly mash the potatoes with a fork. The trick is not to over mash them though as the stickier the potatoes get, the heavier the gnocchi will be.
Add the eggs to the bowl and stir everything until it just comes together to form a thick dough. Try not to stir the mixture too much as this will result in a slightly chewy gnocchi.
Dust a clean work surface with flour and turn the dough out from the bowl. Roll out into a sausage shape around 2cm in diameter and cut with a sharp knife into 5cm long strips to form your gnocchi. Place onto a baking tray dusted with flour.
Bring a large pan of water to the boil with a generous pinch of salt. Turn down to a simmer before gently dropping in half of the gnocchi. Stir with a spoon and wait as they gently rise to the surface. As soon as they come to the surface, remove with a slotted spoon and place into a bowl. Repeat with the remaining gnocchi.
Heat the butter in a shallow frying pan until bubbling. Add the gnocchi and fry until they begin to turn a delicious golden brown. Add the chicken stock and 1 tbsp of the pesto and toss everything together. Divide between two plates and serve with a generous scattering of finely grated Parmesan.