Parsnip Gnocchi with Rocket Pesto

, from Issue #65. August, 2016
Photography by Kelly Gibney.
Parsnip Gnocchi with Rocket Pesto

If you’ve never tried making gnocchi, I’d urge you to give it a go. It’s much simpler than you think and incredibly satisfying. 

Serves: 4–6


1 large potato
2 large parsnips
2 egg yolks
½ cup finely grated parmesan
1 teaspoon sea salt, plus extra
ground black pepper
⅓ cup rice flour
⅓ cup tapioca flour
Rocket pesto
2 tightly packed cups fresh rocket leaves, plus extra to garnish
large handful fresh basil leaves
½ cup toasted pine nuts
½ cup good-quality olive oil
juice of ½ lemon
1 garlic clove, finely diced
sea salt and ground black pepper 


Place all the pesto ingredients into a food processor. Process until relatively smooth. Taste and season with sea salt and ground black pepper.

Peel and cut the potato into big chunks. Peel the parsnips and remove most of the woody core. Cut into big chunks and place in a medium saucepan along with the potato. Cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and cook for approximately 20 minutes or until soft.

Drain very well in a colander for a few minutes before mashing. Remove any woody strands that have remained.

Place two cups of cooled mash in a large bowl. Add the egg yolks, parmesan, salt, pepper and half of the flours. Use a wooden spoon to mix together. Add the remaining flour and knead together for a few minutes with your hands. The mixture will be slightly sticky.

Turn dough on to a board floured with rice flour. Form into a disc. Cut into quarters and then each quarter in half again so that you have 8 even pieces.

Roll each dough ball into a log that is roughly 2cm in width. Cut along the log at 2cm intervals. Repeat the process until you have rolled and cut all the dough.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Drop the gnocchi into the water in batches, a dozen at a time. The gnocchi will be ready in 1–2 minutes when they float to the surface. Remove using a slotted spoon. Repeat process until all the gnocchi is cooked. The cooked gnocchi may feel a little sticky. You won’t notice this once they are combined with the pesto.

Toss the gnocchi with the pesto and divide among bowls. Garnish with fresh rocket leaves. Serve immediately. 

Cook's tip: Uncooked gnocchi can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days. Leftover cooked (but without sauce) gnocchi can be stored in the fridge for one day or in the freezer for up to 3 weeks. I prefer to reheat cooked gnocchi by tossing it in a hot pan with some olive until lightly golden.