Can’t get more peasant-food-like than gnocchi. Potato and flour, mashed together to form a dough, rolled out and cut into little cylinders and flattened with a fork. Cooked briefly in salted boiling water, tossed with homemade broccoli pesto… done! Simple, cheap, tasty, filling (the husband was a total fan!), not super fast but definitely therapeutic. Especially after a big and very busy day in The Kitchen. Is it weird that I wind down from a stressful morning in The Kitchen by… spending the afternoon in my kitchen?
Our broccoli has gone rampant. I made the mistake of planting four seeds at once, because my last crop flowered and went to seed, so I was pretty eager to have some successes. Well, success I did have. We have broccoli coming out our ears! Fortunately we love it and serve it (steamed for 90 seconds only!) as a side for almost any dish. I was pretty keen to make a pesto for the gnocchi that I had just made, so I googled broccoli pesto (hey, you never know) and apparently it’s a thing! I mean, it’s not unheard of. And there are a variety of recipes available. I improvised a bit and created this – Broccoli and Walnut Pesto. It’s amazing. It’s nutricious. And it uses up a LOT of broccoli. I happen to know it is also delicious on toast. Broccoli on toast? Who would have thought.
I know. My photo quality has become rather dismal! It has taken me forever to find the good lighting in the house we have been housesitting. The kitchen is surprisingly dark with all the light coming through one main window casting shadows across everything. I wasn’t willing to cart the blender into a better room, so here. You have a dark, shadowed photo to entice you to make broccoli pesto. Or how about shots of the view from my office in my non-cafe job while I enjoyed the leftovers of this…
Boil 3 large potatoes with plenty of salt until soft. Peel them, mash them, then mix in some salt, an egg yolk and about 2 cups of flour. Here you can anything you like – chopped basil, garlic, grated Parmesan.. Turn the dough onto the bench and knead until soft. Divide this into four and roll each lump of dough into a long snake, cut into 2cm logs, press lightly with a fork and place on a floured tray until ready to cook. Bring a large pot (the largest you have, unless you have all night to wait for each batch to cook!) of water to the boil and drop in ten to twelve ‘gnocchis’. They are ready when they rise to the surface. Lift them out with a slotted spoon and add to a pan of warm tomato pasta sauce, or lightly fry them in butter (as I did – this gives them a burst of flavour) before tossing with pesto, steamed broccoli, toasted walnuts and plenty of Parmesan. They freeze well and reheat beautifully.
Broccoli & Walnut Pesto
- 1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
- 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
- 2 large cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons juice from 1 lemon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cook the broccoli for two minutes in boiling water. Drain well.
In processor, blend walnuts, broccoli, garlic, lemon juice, and salt. With motor running, pour olive oil in in a slow stream. Mix in Parmesan. Toss with fresh pasta or spread onto toasted ciabatta.