A jar of green pesto always makes me think of Brownies. Not the chocolate, gooey, baked kind, but the brown trousers and mustard jumper, girl-scout kind. The club you went to after Rainbows and before Guides? Hah! It’s funny isn’t it, how food can transport you back to a particular time. I’d sit with my best friend in her kitchen or her conservatory, and we’d have green pesto pasta every Tuesday before Brownies. Sometimes we’d watch The Weakest Link (remember that?) and sometimes we’d perform our own cooking shows with ice cream, raspberry sauce and sprinkles. But no matter what, there was always green pesto pasta.
It’s been a while however, since FODMAP-friendly me, has been able to pick up a last-minute jar of green pesto for pasta or any other number of delicious dishes. That was until Sacla’ brought out their FreeFrom Basil Pesto, without gluten, wheat and dairy AND with no added garlic or onion!! Can I get a hurrah?
I am such a huge fan of this stuff I always have a jar in my fridge. Delicious on toast, dolloped over eggs or stirred through pasta when friends call in for a mid-week dinner, it’s great to have in your cooking arsenal. Here, I use it in my recipe for soft fluffy gnocchi, pan fried in butter to create a beautiful golden crust then tossed with Basil Pesto, kale and tomatoes. A type of small Italian dumpling, gnocchi is usually hand-shaped into shells, ovals or flat discs and eaten the same way as pasta. It’s surprisingly easy to make at home and very simple to make gluten free. Plus it’s like a hug in a bowl – perfect for this sudden arctic weather we’re having in the UK. I’ve adapted the recipe below slightly from the one in my cookbook.
The lemon zest and nutmeg aren’t essential but they really do lift the flavour of the gnocchi and I think get rid of any possible stodge. Pan frying also isn’t essential if you’re not loving the sound of all that butter but trust me it makes them SO crispy and golden and delicious. The extra pan to wash up is undeniably worth it.
This is a great recipe to make on a Sunday afternoon when you’ve got a little bit of time to spend in the kitchen. Plus you can keep the dough in the fridge for a few days before using it if you need, so you can just roll, shape, cook, stir in the pesto and go. I’ve abandoned seasonality using tomatoes here (best in the Summer months), because they’re great with pesto but you could easily sub in tinned or another seasonal FODMAP friendly alternative.
Just to say Sacla’s FreeFrom Basil Pesto hasn’t been certified FODMAP friendly and it does contain cashew nuts, which are classified high FODMAP, although the amount is less than 5 per cent in the whole jar, so we’re talking teeny amounts. As always if you’re on the diet and are unsure, check with your GP or just try a small amount at a time to see your tolerance levels.
500g large floury potatoes
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
175g gluten free plain flour blend
pinch xanthan gum (optional)
pinch of nutmeg
zest of 1 lemon
1 small egg, beaten
150g cavelo nero, kale or leafy green of choice, torn into pieces
200g tomatoes, cut in half
1 jar Sacla’ FreeFrom Basil Pesto
Glug of olive oil
Salt and pepper to season
Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add the potatoes and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and as soon as the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel of the skin. Use a potato ricer if you have one or you can finely grate or gently mash the potatoes.
Sift the flour and xanthan gum if using, into a large bowl with the potatoes, and add the nutmeg and lemon zest. Stir to combine, then make a well in the centre and add the egg. Mix together, adding more flour if necessary, but stopping as soon as the mixture comes together into a soft dough.
Gently shape the dough into a ball and knead a few times before cutting into four portions. Shape each portion into a long log, about 1.5cm (1/2 in) in diameter. Place a damp paper towel over the dough you aren’t working with (this prevents a skin from forming). Cut the logs into 1.5cm (1/2 in) pieces and gently press each side with a fork so you get lovely grooves to catch the pesto. Place the gnocchi on a lightly floured tray.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add your leafy green veg and cook for 3-5 minutes. Once cooked, remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm. Bring the pan of salted water back up to the boil and drop in your gnocchi – you can do this in stages depending on the size of your pan, just make sure you give ’em some space.
Meanwhile, place a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the butter. When the gnocchi rise to the top of the pan, use a slotted spoon to add them to the frying pan. Gently cook the gnocchi until they get golden and buttery and crisp. In the last minute of cooking, add the tomatoes, Sacla FreeFrom Basil Pesto and a glug of olive oil to the frying pan. Stir together until all of the gnocchi is coated, season generously and serve.
A big thank you to Sacla’ for sponsoring this post! All opinions are my own and working with great brands means I can keep bringing you guys relevant content. You can find Sacla’ FreeFrom Basil Pesto in the Free From
I love seeing what you create, so if you make this recipe (or any other from my site), please take a snap and tag me on Instagram with #fodmapfriendlykitchen or #shecanteatwhat!