Homemade pesto instantly transforms an everyday dish into a memorable meal, be it tossed with pasta, slathered atop chicken or stirred into mayo for an all-star sandwich spread. But I’m going beyond basic basil pesto with a vibrant blend of nutrient-rich kale, shredded Parmesan cheese, toasted pine nuts and fresh citrus. A quick whiz in the blender and the result is a bright, balanced sauce perfect for pairing with pillowy homemade gnocchi. So roll up your sleeves, grab your ingredients, and get cooking with a recipe for Homemade Gnocchi with Kale Pesto.
Blanching the kale in boiling water before transferring it to the blender will ensure that the pesto retains its bright green color.
It takes less than 1 minute in the blender to transform raw ingredients into flavor-packed pesto, which can be frozen in ice cube trays for easy-to-access single servings.
It’s important to rice the potatoes while they are still hot in order to guarantee the smoothest, fluffiest gnocchi.
You may be tempted to skip rolling the gnocchi on the fork, but it’s those little indentations that make gnocchi the prime canvas for soaking up the pesto.
Ready to Perfect Your Pesto? The KitchenAid® Blender makes puréeing leafy greens like kale a total breeze, while the 5-speed functionality allows you to easily switch between functions from chopping to liquefying. Because the blender is dishwasher-safe, you can skip the scrubbing and take on the challenge of mastering restaurant-worthy pesto and gnocchi from the comfort of your kitchen.
Homemade Gnocchi with Kale Pesto
Makes 4-6 servings
For the kale pesto
1 medium bunch (about 8 stalks) kale
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
For the gnocchi
2 pounds baking (Russet or Idaho) potatoes (about 3 medium potatoes)
1 large egg
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
For the kale pesto
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Remove the leaves from the stems of the kale by pulling your fingers down and along the stem. Discard the stems.
Set a sieve over a bowl. Blanch the kale leaves in the boiling water for 15 seconds then transfer them to the sieve to drain. Once the leaves have cooled slightly, squeeze them
into a ball to release as much water as possible.
Toast the pine nuts in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until golden brown and fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes. (Pine nuts burn quickly so watch them carefully.)
Add the drained kale, toasted pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, chopped garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper to a blender. Blend the ingredients for 10 to 15 seconds, then with the blender still running, slowly stream in the olive oil until it’s fully incorporated and the mixture is well-blended.
Transfer the pesto to a bowl and season it with salt and pepper to taste. Toss the pesto with homemade gnocchi (recipe follows) or serve with chicken, seafood, steak or vegetables.
For the gnocchi
Place the potatoes in a large pot and add just enough cold water to cover them. Boil the potatoes until fork-tender, about 45 minutes.
Remove the potatoes from the water, and holding them carefully in a kitchen towel, immediately peel the skin off each potato with a vegetable peeler or paring knife. Cut the potatoes into quarters then press the quarters through a ricer or food mill directly onto a lightly floured work surface. Spread the potatoes out into a thin layer to cool completely.
Once the potatoes have cooled, gather them together into a mound and form a well in the center. Lightly whisk the egg then add it to the center of the well along with the salt.
Slowly knead the egg together with the potatoes, adding the flour in two (1/2-cup) increments and kneading until all of the flour has been incorporated and the dough is
smooth. The longer you knead the dough, the more gluten will form and the tougher your gnocchi will be, so keep the kneading to a minimum.
Cut the dough into 6 equal pieces. Clean your work surface and lightly dust it with flour.
Roll each piece of dough into a 1/2-inch-thick rope, lightly re-flouring your work surface as needed to prevent the dough from sticking. Cut each rope into 1/2-inch rounds to form the gnocchi. Transfer the gnocchi to a lightly floured baking sheet, and then using a fork, press each gnocchi onto the back of the fork, rolling it down the tines with your thumb.
Apply a medium amount of pressure so that the gnocchi is indented but not flattened.
Repeat the rolling process with the remaining gnocchi.
To cook the gnocchi, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add half of the gnocchi to the boiling water, stir, and then let the gnocchi cook until they float back up to the top, about 1 minute.
Remove the gnocchi with a slotted spoon to a serving bowl. Repeat the cooking process with the remaining gnocchi.
Toss the warm gnocchi with the prepared kale pesto. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and serve.
Kale pesto can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Press a layer of plastic wrap directly atop the pesto before sealing the container in order to prevent discoloration.
*The Contributor of this post has been compensated by KitchenAid for this post, but this post represents the Contributor’s own opinion.*