This recipe for Yam Gnocchi with Basil Pesto & Mushrooms is an oldie but a goodie. I'm a huge fan of Italian flavours, and created it a few years ago after having gnocchi for the first time in a restaurant. In a light garlic basil oil with Italian vegetables, it was the most delicious food I’d ever had, and I decided that I would figure out how to recreate it for myself.
However, it took a little trial and error, and this recipe is the newly revamped version of one that's been on the blog for a while. Although the original recipe tasted great, the texture wasn't quite right and the gnocchi kept falling apart. It was - ah - unpredictable, to say the least!
Not so with this one! I’m really pleased with this recipe because the texture holds together well and the yam gnocchi don't fall apart! I also love the fact that the recipe is both gluten-free and vegan (hooray), as gluten-free gnocchi can be challenging to make.
I also adore the flavour pairing. I'd initially planned to serve these gnocchi with pesto alone, as I was making the balsamic mushrooms for another dish. I accidentally tried a mouthful of them with the gnocchi and pesto and was blown away as the flavours go so well together. The balsamic tangy sweetness offsets the savoury pesto delicately and creates a beautifully rounded flavour. I hope you'll love them as much as I do.
Yam Gnocchi with Basil Pesto & Mushrooms - Note
Due to its gluten-free nature, this gnocchi can behave a little differently to the regular stuff. When it comes to using gluten-free flour in the recipe, I HIGHY recommend choosing a gluten-free flour blend, rather than just using brown rice or buckwheat flour, for example. Although I love working with both of these, the advantage of using a blend is that it will contain ingredients like potato starch and/or tapioca flour, both of which help the gnocchi to hold its shape. My favourite personally is Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Baking Flour. Have fun!
Yam Gnocchi with Basil Pesto & Mushrooms (vegan + gluten-free)
- 1 large bunch of basil, thick stalks removed
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
- 3 tbsp toasted cashew or walnut pieces
- Salt and pepper
- 2 cups small brown mushrooms, diced
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- 1 large russet potato, peeled and diced (into 1½cm cubes - about 2 heaped cups)
- 1 medium yam, peeled and diced (into 1½cm cubes - about 2 heaped cups)
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- Salt and pepper
- 1½ cups your favourite gluten-free flour blend (I use Bob's Red Mill and recommend using one that has potato starch or tapioca flour in)
- 2 cups mixed baby leafy greens
- Prepare all ingredients as instructed above.
For the pesto
- Pulse all ingredients except half the olive oil in a blender to form a loose mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Scoop the pesto out into a glass jar and gently stir in the rest of the oil until almost combined. Set aside.
For the mushrooms
- Heat the mushrooms with the vinegar, adding salt and pepper to taste in a small frying pan until bubbling gently.
- Cook the mixture on low for 15-20 minutes until the mushrooms are soft and the vinegar no longer tastes acidic. Set aside.
For the gnocchi
- Place the potato and yam cubes into a saucepan of hot water and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes until both vegetables are soft.
- Drain and place the yam and potato back in the saucepan.
- Using a potato ricer, mash until smooth and the two colours are totally mixed, adding the garlic, salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer to a large bowl and add the flour, kneading the mixture into a dough. (It’s tempting to add less flour as the mixture can look a little dry – don’t do it!)
- Using your hands, divide the dough into four pieces.
- On a floured surface, roll them into sausages about 2cm wide with your hands and cut each into 1.5cm-wide slices.
- Roll each slice gently to make it more of a tube shape, and if you wish gently roll a fork along each piece for texture.
- To cook, add all the gnocchi to a large pan of boiling water. When they float to the surface, cook for another 30 seconds and then drain. (You may need to do this in two batches.)
- Spread gnocchi out on a large plate to prevent sticking until ready for use.
- Serve the warm gnocchi scattered over a bed of baby leaves.
- Add the balsamic mushrooms and drizzle pesto over the plate. Enjoy!