For the pesto


  • STEP 1

    If you’re making your own gnocchi, first cook the potatoes. (To save energy, you can bake them a day or two before making the gnocchi while the oven is on for another meal.) Rub the potatoes all over with the oil and a generous pinch of salt. Prick a few times all over with a fork, then microwave on high for 5 mins. Bake in a 200C/180C fan/gas 6 oven for 45 mins, or cook in the air-fryer at the same temperature for 30 mins until crisp on the outside and soft in the centre. Cool for 10 mins, or until you can handle the potatoes (or leave to cool completely if baking ahead).

  • STEP 2

    Split the potatoes and scoop out the middles. (See tip for making crisps, below.) Mash the potato until smooth, or use a potato ricer if you have one. Tip onto a work surface and make a well in the centre.

  • STEP 3

    Drop the egg yolks into the well and lightly whisk with a fork, gently drawing in the potato. Sprinkle over the flour, season with a generous pinch of salt, and grate over a little nutmeg. Use your hands to work the ingredients into a soft dough, but try not to overwork it – you want the gnocchi to be light and pillowy.

  • STEP 4

    Split the dough into four balls. Roll each into a long sausage shape, about the thickness of a chipolata. Use a sharp knife to cut each into 2cm pieces. Scatter a little semolina or polenta over a large tray and put each gnocchi on the tray, gently pressing your thumb into the middle of each one to squash a little. Will keep covered and chilled for a day, or frozen for two months.

  • STEP 5

    To make the pesto, strip the leaves from the cavolo nero stalks (the stalks can be finely chopped and added to a soup). Put in a colander and pour over a kettleful of freshly boiled water to wilt, then transfer to a blender or food processor. Add the garlic, olive oil, lemon zest, cheese and almonds, along with a good pinch of salt and splash of water. Blitz to a paste, adding a little more water or lemon juice if needed. Will keep chilled for a few days or frozen for up to three months.

  • STEP 6

    Bring a large pan of water to a simmer and cook the gnocchi in two or three batches until they rise to the surface, about 2 mins. Scoop out using a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate.

  • STEP 7

    Melt a knob of butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat until sizzling. Fry the gnocchi in two batches until crispy on both sides. Transfer to a plate. Add a little more butter and the asparagus to the pan, and fry for 2-3 mins until just cooked. Add the peas and pesto, along with a splash of water to loosen. Warm the pesto for a minute, then toss in the gnocchi. Scatter over the cheese shavings, grind over some black pepper and serve straightaway.

Goes well with


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