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Hand made sweet potato gnocchi with a rocket pesto

An old favourite which is in one of my early books, now out of print.  It’s super easy to make and easy to get hooked on. 
Untraditional onion in pesto adds bite. 
The dough must not become too wet, so bake rather than boil the sweet potatoes.
Make the pesto first, so it’s ready by the time the gnocchi is, then hey p(r)esto, supper’s ready!



1 large saucepan



For the gnocchi :

1 kg sweet potatoes
100g plain flour
pinch grated nutmeg
1 small red onion, finely diced
salt and pepper

For the rocket not quite pesto

1 garlic clove, small
50g rocket, finely 
25g blanched almonds, lightly toasted
25g Parmesan, shredded
125 ml olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
1 spring onion, or ¼ red onion, finely chopped, optional
Pinch of salt 

To serve

Extra Parmesan
½ small red onion, chopped very small
Handful fresh rocket


Preheat the oven to 200C and bake the sweet potatoes for about 40 minutes, till tender. Also bring a large saucepan of salted, water to the boil, with an added slick of olive oil, so it’s ready by the time you have made the sweet potato dough.

Allow the potatoes to cool a little before peeling.

Put flesh into a bowl and mash with the nutmeg, salt, pepper and the flour and diced red onion to form a soft dough.
When you are ready to cook the gnocchi, reduce the water to a simmer. 
Use two teaspoons to form the gnocchi and drop them into the water.

Simmer till they rise to the surface and continue to cook for a further minute. 

You will need to work in small batches, scooping them out, a with a slotted spoon, a few at a time and transferring them into a large, shallow bowl.

Drizzle the rocket pesto all over but try not to stir – better just to shake the bowl to coat the gnocchi with the pesto, serving the rest in a bowl by the side.


Finish off with extra Parmesan, the very finely chopped red onion and a little mound of rocket and serve at once.

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