Re-imagine the pesto gnocchi throw-together by frying the cooked gnocchi in olive oil and tossing them in a homemade watercress pesto.






Skill level

Average: 3.9 (29 votes)



  • 2 medium-sized potatoes
  • ¼ cup ricotta cheese (about 75 g)
  • ½ cup plain flour (60 g), and a little extra if necessary
  • generous pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Watercress pesto

  • 50 g fresh watercress, rinsed and largest stalks removed (or basil)
  • 2 tbsp blanched almonds (or hazelnuts or macadamia nuts)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan or pecorino cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • ¼–½ tsp sugar, or more to taste
  • pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • handful of fresh watercress leaves, to garnish

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


1. Boil the potatoes with their skins on until cooked through and can be easily pierced with a knife. Remove, allow to steam and cool for a few minutes, then peel.

2. Mash the potatoes and mix together with the remaining ingredients until you have a smooth dough. If the mixture seems too wet, add in a little extra flour, but try and avoid adding too much as this will make the gnocchi heavy and dense. The dough needs to be just manageable.

3. Divide the dough in half and roll out each one into a long sausage shape, about 1.5cm thick. Cut each length into 2-cm pieces, and gently make an indentation in each one using a fork that you have dipped in flour so that it doesn't stick.

4. Make the pesto: blitz all of the ingredients together in a food processor or using a stick blender, adjust seasoning to taste. Loosen with a little extra olive oil and hot water if necessary.

4. Now cook the gnocchi. Add the gnocchi in 2-3 batches to a large pot of boiling water, along with 1 tbsp olive oil, and cook until the pieces rise to the surface (this takes just 1-2 minutes), remove with a slotted spoon and add to a large mixing bowl along with a drizzle of olive oil.

5. Heat olive oil in a frying pan and add gnocchi once hot. Fry until golden brown.

5. Add the pesto to the gnocchi and toss gently. Divide between warmed bowls and serve immediately with freshly grated parmesan and a few fresh watercress leaves.


This is also delicious with crispy chorizo or bacon bits scattered over the top just before serving.