Gnoc­chi with hazel­nut & pars­ley pesto and fen­nel

The Simple Things - - LIVING -

Deeply nutty toasted hazel­nuts make a bril­liant al­ter­na­tive to pine nuts in pesto. Pars­ley and hazel­nuts can be com­bined with Bri­tish cheese and rape­seed oil to make an en­tirely Bri­tish pesto to ri­val the Ital­ian clas­sic.

Serves 4 for the pesto

1 large bunch of pars­ley, leaves only 60g blanched and toasted hazel­nuts 60g hard goats’ cheese, finely grated 150ml cold-pressed ex­tra vir­gin rape­seed oil Juice of ¼ lemon

for the gnoc­chi

500g po­ta­toes, peeled and boiled 1 egg, beaten 125g plain flour, plus ex­tra for dust­ing Olive oil and but­ter, for fry­ing and driz­zling

for the fen­nel

50g but­ter 2 large fen­nel bulbs, each cut into eight wedges

to serve

A few toasted hazel­nuts Hard goats’ cheese, for grat­ing

1 If you have a food pro­ces­sor, put all the pesto in­gre­di­ents into it and blitz to­gether. If you’re us­ing a pes­tle and mor­tar, crush the nuts first, then finely chop the herbs, add these and the rest of the in­gre­di­ents, and pound to a paste. Whichever method you use, taste and add salt and pep­per as nec­es­sary. Add a lit­tle more oil if you pre­fer a looser con­sis­tency.

2 To make the gnoc­chi, push the po­ta­toes through a ricer, or mash them (riced po­ta­toes make lighter, fluffier gnoc­chi). Roughly mix in the egg with a fork, then sieve over the flour, sea­son with salt and work into a dough, knead­ing a few times. Dust a work sur­face with flour and roll out the mix­ture to 2-3cm thick. Cut into short lengths and mark with a fork.

3 Bring a pan of salted wa­ter to the boil and drop in the gnoc­chi in batches. Lift out with a slot­ted spoon when they bob to the sur­face after a minute or so. Drain on kitchen pa­per.

4 For the fen­nel, melt the but­ter in a fry­ing pan and gen­tly fry the fen­nel un­til caramelised (at least 10 mins). Turn and caramelise the other side.

5 If you like, you can brown the gnoc­chi. In an­other fry­ing pan, melt a knob of but­ter with a lit­tle olive oil and fry the gnoc­chi un­til golden. Di­vide the gnoc­chi and fen­nel be­tween four plates and top each with a spoon­ful or two of pesto, some toasted nuts and a lit­tle ex­tra grated goats’ cheese.

The gnoc­chi’s Ital­ian, but the pesto – made with hazels, pars­ley, rape­seed oil and goats’ cheese – is def­i­nitely Bri­tish

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