Pic of Leek, mascarpone and lemon gnocchi with walnut and parsley pesto

Leek, mascarpone and lemon gnocchi with walnut and parsley pesto

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Vegetarian mains

Leek, mascarpone and lemon gnocchi with walnut and parsley pesto

Main Serves 2 30 min
Our popular potato gnocchi balls, served in a leek and watercress sauce, made with mascarpone from our farm dairy.

Cook's notes

This chopped pesto is chunkier than normal, and adds texture to the otherwise soft dish. It also means there's no cleaning out of a food processor required. We've used a clove of garlic in the pesto, but if you're not a fan of raw garlic, leave it out or use half.


  • 2 leeks
  • oil for frying e.g. sunflower or light olive
  • 100g watercress
  • 15g parsley
  • 50g walnut pieces
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ¼ lemon, zested and juiced
  • 25g Parmesan, grated
  • olive oil
  • 50ml white wine
  • 400g potato gnocchi
  • 2 tbsp mascarpone
  • salt and pepper


Prep time: 5 min
Cooking time: 25 min
  • Step 1

    Trim the leeks, halve them lengthways then finely shred each half. Wash well to remove any grit. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan. Add the leeks. Fry on a low heat for 10 minutes, stirring now and then to stop it catching. Add a splash of water if they look like they might catch at any point.
  • Step 2

    Meanwhile, put a large pan of water on to boil. Wash the watercress and half the bag of parsley. Leave the watercress to drain in a colander, pat or shake the parsley dry and finely chop it. Put it in a bowl.
  • Step 3

    Finely chop the walnut pieces. Add them to the parsley. Peel and crush or very finely chop 1 garlic clove. Add that too. Finely zest quarter of the lemon rind. Add to the walnut and parsley mix, with the juice of quarter of the lemon, the Parmesan and a good glug of olive oil to loosen the mix. Season with a little salt and pepper and keep to one side.
  • Step 4

    After 10 minutes of cooking the leeks, add the white wine and simmer for 2 minutes. Once the wine goes into the leek pan, add the pack of gnocchi to the pan of boiling water. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or so, until the gnocchi rise to the surface. Drain them into a colander.
  • Step 5

    Add the mascarpone to the leeks, with the drained gnocchi and watercress. Simmer to thicken the sauce and wilt the watercress. Check the seasoning and serve drizzled with the chunky walnut and parsley pesto.

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