F1 Food Challenge – Gnocchi and Wild Garlic Pesto

tldr; I need to learn how to read instructions

I’m not really sure where to start this. I had been looking forward to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix so much (Italian food is some of my favourite), and I had everything planned out, made the wild garlic pesto a few weeks beforehand and froze it, and yet… it was all a bit of a disaster.

As the photo of a steaming bowl of green… stuff seems to suggest; it was edible. In fact, in my opinion it was pretty good and worth making again, however it took a long time to get to this stage, and in fact there was a time where I didn’t think it would get there at all.

Starting from the beginning: my colleague brought in a bunch of wild garlic for me and our other coworker, and I immediately knew I was going to make wild garlic pesto with it. This time last year I was in lockdown in France and we basically lived off wild garlic pesto. The recipe I went for was simple enough:

  • put the wild garlic, as much oil as you think necessary, some grated parmesan, some lemon juice, salt and pepper, and toasted pine nuts in a blender. Blend.
  • Add more of the above ingredients if you think necessary, until you get the desired consistency/taste.

If I’m honest, my chaotic approach to recipes as evidenced with this, should have been the first warning sign. I generally think I can cook quite well, I strongly dislike having to read instructions if I can help it, and so I generally cook ‘by ear’. In this case, that was great, the wild garlic pesto is lovely (and we’ve got loads left).

Fast forward to last Saturday: time to make the gnocchi. I had woken up late, and needed to go to the gym in about an hour, but my recipe suggested that it only took about 45 minute to make, so I thought I’d be fine. How naive of me.

The first thing that went wrong were the potatoes: they were very big, and didn’t cook as thoroughly as they should have. Thats fine, I thought, I’ll use my mixer to make sure the mash is smooth enough. My mixer is not the best so while 80% of the potatoes were smooth, there were still a few lumps I needed to pick out. Which obviously lost me time. Which made me stressed. The mash ended up being VERY wet, and the recipe’s amount of flour was not enough to combat this. Cool, I’ll add more flour. And more. And a tiny bit… great, I have virtually no flour left, sticky hands, and the dough is still wet.

By the time I was rolling it out and shaping it, I was very stressed. I hadn’t eaten, I needed to go out in 20 minutes, and if this didn’t work we wouldn’t have anything to eat tonight (that last part might be a bit dramatic). I somehow managed to get all the individual pieces rolled out, and I store them in a tupperware, between sheets of baking paper, on top of each other. This is where… things go really bad.

Doughy disaster

Later that evening, when I decided it was time to eat, I boiled a large pot of water, retrieved the tupperware from the fridge and… oh no. The gnocchi were so wet (even though I had coated them in flour) that they had stuck to the baking paper, each other, and the box. Fighting back the tears (again, dramatic) I scooped up the stodgy, slimy dough, molding it into small balls vaguely resembling gnocchi, and boiled them.

Honestly? It tasted great. The gnocchi was nicely cooked, the pesto coated it well and had a lovely garlicky kick, and overall I was happy with it. I’d probably make it again but next time would make sure to be more precise about timings!

On to the recipe:


  • 1kg potatoes
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 300g plain flour


  • Cook the potatoes and then lower them whole in their skins in a pan of boiling water, simmer for 10-15 minutes until just soft. Peel them after cooking (I peeled them beforehand by the way, I don’t think this makes much of a difference).
  • Mash the potatoes in a bowl, until it is smooth. Make a well in the centre of the potatoes, pour the beaten eggs in.
  • Blend everything with your hands, gradually adding the flour, until you have a dough that holds together without being sticky.
  • Divide the dough into three equal pieces, then roll these out into long sausages, about 2cm thick. Cut these into smaller pieces, again about 2cm long, then shape them by rolling them into a ball before pressing the back of a fork on one side.
  • Let the gnocchi cook in salted boiling water for two minutes, until they bob back to the surface.

If you’ve made it through this recipe without disaster, then enjoy!

2 responses to “F1 Food Challenge – Gnocchi and Wild Garlic Pesto”

  1. I love wild garlic pesto! Yum

    Liked by 2 people

  2. […] I eventually settled on Barbagiuan, which are not only full of pastry, they are also deep fried, so I knew regardless of how they turned out they’d probably be delicious. And I was right. The process of making them didn’t go entirely smoothly, the filling was way too wet and started seeping out of the parcels, the recipe I followed gave no indication of how thick the pastry should be and consequently mine was probably too thick, so I made fewer parcels — and I ended up assuming this would be a repeat of the gnocchi disaster.  […]

    Liked by 1 person

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