Nourishing Swede and Sage Gnocchi with Hazelnut Pesto


Home-made pasta gets a bad rep as being particularly difficult to make, but gnocchi is a great place to start. It can be a bit time intensive, but when you really feel like spending some time cooking something delicious and nourishing for the soul then this recipe is just the ticket - and is impressive to bring out for guests too!

Makes four portions.


  • 650g swede
  • 50ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 tsp
  • 75g blanched hazelnuts
  • 5g fresh sage leaves, finely chopped, plus extra fried leaves to garnish
  • 200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 70g grated pecorino, plus extra to serve (optional)
  • 1 medium egg yolk
  • ½ small garlic clove, grated



  1. Peel and dice your swede into 3cm cubes, and pop 500g of it into some boiling water. Simmer your Swede for 25-30 minutes until tender, then drain and let steam dry for 10 mins.
  2. While your Swede is boiling, preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C.  Put the remaining swede on a baking tray and toss with 1 tsp oil. Roast for 20-25 mins until tender and golden, then set aside.
  3. At the same time, roast your hazelnuts on a separate baking tray for 8-10 mins until deep golden. Once these are done then set them aside to cool, then roughly chop being careful not to burn your fingers.
  4. Using a wooden spoon, pass the boiled swede through a sieve into a large mixing bowl and mix with the finely chopped sage, flour, 20g pecorino and the egg yolk. Season to your preference and then leave to stand for 5 mins. The dough will be quite sticky but that's fine. Just be prepared to get a bit messy!
  5. Bring a large pan of slightly salted water to the boil. Using floured hands (and this step is important!), put half the dough onto a floured surface and roll out into a few long sausages, around 1cm thick. Cut into 3cm pieces and transfer to the boiling water. Once the gnocchi float to the surface, cook for 1 min, then scoop out using a slotted spoon and transfer to a large mixing bowl with 1 tbsp of the oil. Toss to coat and cover the bowl with a tea towel to keep them warm. Repeat with the remaining dough, adding to the bowl once cooked. Don't pour away the cooking water - we'll use this later.
  6. Mix the chopped hazelnuts, garlic, remaining olive oil and pecorino in a bowl and season lightly, adding a splash of the cooking water (start with 50ml and add more as necessary) to loosen the pesto. Spoon over the cooked gnocchi and roasted swede, and divide between 4 shallow bowls and top with extra grated pecorino and fried sage leaves for presentation.
  7. For crispy fried sage leaves, heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add 12 sage leaves and fry for 15-20 secs until crisp.

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