Whole Wheat Herbed Gnocchi with Green Tea Hemp Pesto

Happy Hump-Day everyone! As I write, I am back home on my sunny porch in New York enjoying a relaxing few days with my family. It has been quite the whirlwind GRADUATING and saying goodbye to my close friends as I prepare to start my transition from Philly to NYC, and next Friday, I head to Houston to participate in an month-long orchestra festival. And in a sort of related incident, I finally put a Manhattan School of Music sticker on my instrument case, so things are getting kind of real. It is beyond immensely exciting, but also a leeeeeetle bit terrifying. It’s all part of the bigger picture as this new chapter begins, so I’m trying to get in as much time as I can with all the people I will miss over the next month!

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The good news about having all this time to myself (and a nice, homey kitchen with natural light AND OUTDOOR PHOTOGRAPHY SPACE!) is that I can concoct enough recipe posts to hold you all over while I’m in Texas without a kitchen. This recipe is just one of several I’ve been developing, and I’m kind of stoked, because today’s post also has a big “first” attached to it: This is my first contribution to The Recipe Re-Dux, a wonderful healthy food blogging network and monthly challenge that was brought to my attention a few months ago. I applied to be a part of it, and was offered membership starting this month. YAY! I was also excited when I heard that this month’s theme (there is a special theme or ingredient for each month’s challenge) was cooking with tea. And I LOVE TEA. 

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I have cooked with tea before, and in fact I have a post on the blog already with a tasty recipe for Chocolate Chai Mousse Cake, in which I also discuss my love affair with tea. But aside from that, my experience with using tea outside of my addiction to drinking it is minimal. At first, I thought maybe I’d create some kind of popsicle, or that a mixed beverage of sorts might be a good idea for the challenge. But, they don’t call this a “challenge” for nothing, so I wanted to explore and venture into the unknown world of savory tea dishes. One of the first ideas that came to me was a green tea pesto. I had never heard of or tasted such a thing, although upon Googling, I found that it had been done before (someday, I’ll get to be a bit more original). I was a little skimpy on the amount of tea I put into the pesto, but for a reason – because I also cooked the homemade gnocchi in green tea. Be. Still. My. Heart.

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I was admittedly really nervous being so adventurous in the kitchen for this recipe – gnocchi can be a temperamental dish that requires both patience and lots of manual labor, and since I swapped out all-purpose flour in favor of whole wheat pastry flour, I was really unsure of how the texture would come out. I was half expecting the gnocchi to fall apart in the water, and that I would end up wasting pounds of unusable gnocchi dough. But miraculously, they came out deliciously delicate and fluffy. They could have had a bit more bite, but I personally really liked the lightness. Plus, boiling the dumplings in green tea gave them even more of an herbal punch.

 
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Whole Wheat Herbed Gnocchi with Green Tea Hemp Pesto
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Gnocchi
  1. 2 lbs. (about 3-4 large) yukon gold potatoes
  2. 1/3 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
  3. 1.5 cups whole wheat pastry flour, plus some for handling the dough (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
  4. 1-2 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
  5. 1 egg
  6. 1.5 tsp. salt
  7. 7-10 sachets of green tea, paper tabs cut off + water for boiling
Pesto
  1. 2 cups fresh basil
  2. 1/4 cup raw pine nuts
  3. 3 tbs. hemp hearts
  4. 1-2 tablespoons green tea leaves, ground with a mortal and pestle or spice grinder
  5. 1/4 cup olive oil
  6. 1 clove garlic, minced
  7. 2 tbs. freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
  8. 1-2 tsp. lemon juice
  9. salt and pepper, to taste
Gnocchi
  1. Prepare potatoes by washing, peeling thoroughly, cutting into chunks, and making sure to remove any eyes.
  2. Place potatoes into a large pot, and add water to cover. Bring water and potatoes to a boil, then reduce heat slightly just to keep the water rolling. Boil potatoes until very soft, about 20 minutes. Drain, and run through a food processor or mash thoroughly until smooth while still warm. Be sure that there are little to no chunks of potato remaining. Let cool – I stuck the bowl of mashed potatoes in the fridge and prepared the pesto while waiting.
  3. Add the cheese, flour, egg, thyme, and salt to the potatoes. Mix with your hands until the batter forms a sticky, pliable dough.
  4. Roll out dough into balls about the size of your palm.
  5. On a floured surface, roll out dough into snakes about 1/2 inch wide.
  6. Cut dough into small rectangles, and roll each dumpling onto the back of a fork (or a gnocchi board, if you have one) to create ridges.
  7. Bring about 5 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. Once boiling, add 6 sachets of green tea. Let steep for 2-3 minutes and remove.
  8. Add the gnocchi in small batches to ensure that they do not stick together, and remove the dumplings as they begin to float. (Tips: Test the cooking time out on two or three of your gnocchi dumplings first until you get a consistency that you like. Generally, they should be ready when or soon after they float to the top of the water. A handy tool for this is a frying strainer!) If the boiling water starts to run low, add in a cup at a time to replenish, but be sure to also steep an extra bag of green tea for 2-3 minutes for each cup of water you add.
Pesto
  1. Combine ingredients (except oil and lemon juice) in a food processor and pulse until blended thoroughly, scraping down the sides of the food processor as needed. Blend with the oil and lemon juice, and serve.
  2. Enjoy!
The Hungry Musician http://thehungrymusician.com/
 
 

Comments

  1. Leave a Reply

    jill conyers
    May 21, 2014

    This looks delicious. I can think of several recipes the pesto would be perfect for.

  2. Leave a Reply

    Deanna Segrave-Daly (@tspbasil)
    May 22, 2014

    First off, welcome to ReDux and you knocked it out of the park with you first post! I think green tea pesto is very original and with homemade gnocchi no less.

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