Spinach and spelt gnocchi with lemony wild garlic pesto

words Liz Seabrook

30th April 2016


After a particularly fruitful foraging* session last week, our lifestyle editor found herself with a fridge full of wild garlic and one craving: pesto. But what to go with it? Here’s a homemade twist of the student classic. Remember, wild garlic has a quite a short season, so if you want to try this you’ll have to track some down by the end of May. 

You Will Need
For the pesto

1 wild garlic large bunch washed

1 small bunch curly parsley washed

60g of pine nuts

60g of Parmesan

150ml of olive oil

A lemon


black pepper

For the gnocchi you will need:
200g spinach

150g ricotta

100g spelt or wholemeal flour

large handful parsley, some set aside for garnish

2 medium eggs

50 g Parmesan, grated, plus shavings to serve

Knob of butter

How to:

One. First make the pesto. Put all the ingredients asides from the olive oil into a food processor and blitz them. Slowly add the olive oil until it resembles what you’d find in your old faithful jar of shop bought pesto.

Two. Next get cracking with your gnocchi. Start by placing all the spinach in a colander and pouring boiling water over it to wilt it, then run the cold tap over it to cool it down. Next use your hands to squeeze the excess water from it - don’t be shy, you won’t hurt it.

Three. Place all of the ingredients into your food processor and blitz until combined. If you were shy with your spinach, you may need add more flour to soak up the water and make the mixture more doughy. Add it slowly mixing by hand until you feel happy (or too worried to add more).

Four. Put your mixture in the fridge to cool for 30 minutes.

Five. Bring a well filled pan of salted water to the boil and retrieve your mixture from the fridge. Now, there are two ways to get shape your gnocchi; if you’re a dab hand with the chef-y two teaspoon technique use that, if not, pull off a bit and carefully roll between your palms. It’ll be quite sticky and messy, but hey, who minds a bit of mess?! You’ll need to cook them in batches, so it’s easiest to shape as you go along rather than do them all at once. Pop each round into the boiling water. At first they’ll sink, then when they’re cooked they’ll bob up to the surface. Lift them out with a slotted spoon and set aside.  

Six. Once you’re gnocchi are all cooked, heat a knob of butter in a frying pan. Sauté your gnocchi to seal them (but not brown them) and add in the pesto to heat through.

Seven. Serve with grated parmesan and some sprigs of parsley. 

Recipes adapted from Great British Chefs and Good Housekeeping

*NB. When picking garlic (or any other plant for that matter) try to stick to the rule of thirds; pick a third of the plant and leave two-thirds.