In Melbourne, a city full of food and obsessed by coffee, I cook, I eat, I share the good news and the bad. essjay eats

Nettle Gnocchi: Recipe & Guest Post

Nettle Gnocchi banner

A couple of weeks ago I went to the markets with friend Mellie, half of Tummyrumbles. We spied “tamed nettles” lovingly picked off their stems and bagged for us by one of the stall holder’s sons as his “pin money” job.  I quietly suggested that nettle gnocchi may have to be in order to Mellie.  I’ve seen her gnocchi posts, and was hoping she’d pick up the hint (and some nettles!).  She did, and she bought nettles and invited me over to dinner.  To complete the trifecta, she has now also graciously passed on the recipe, in the form of a guest post.  Thanks for the gnocchi Mellie!  Enjoy the post everyone.


Well it wasn’t my bright idea to make nettle gnocchi, in fact, it was Suzanne’s (which is why she get’s this blog post.  Oh, and she also took the photos ;-)).  Anyway, it was an inspiring visit to the Gasworks Farmers Market that provided the bounty; Royal Blue potatoes, and nettle leaves, already picked from their stems.  Then an innocent suggestion and an invite to dinner later, and we were having nettle gnocchi.
So, I consulted the wise Rosa Mitchell as to her method (, so despite not offering a recipe, it is good re: the method. Yes, the dough does take a little more flour than normal, so adjust as required.  Also, I didn’t cook my nettles as long as she did – a minute or two only.
Nettle gnocchi
(enough for 4-6 servings)
1kg potatoes
4 big handfuls of nettles
1 cup plain flour
1 egg
1 tbs sea salt
Okay, now we obviously know that working with raw nettles is somewhat hazardous, so I suggest you don the gloves to prevent those pesky little stingers making an irritating nuisance of themselves.
Bring some water to the boil in an enamel or stainless steel pot (I’d advise against using aluminium), and dump in the nettle leaves and tender stalks.  Cook for a few minutes and then remove from the water – but WAIT – keep the water!  You can use these to cook your spuds.  But back to the nettles. Drain them REALLY well, removing as much moisture as you can.  Then chop finely or food process gently.
So, with some nice floury potatoes, skins and all, throw them in the nettle cooking water.  I always try to buy the same sized potatoes, so they cook at the same time.  Cook until you can easily stick a knife into them.
Drain the potatoes and let cool for a few minutes.  Then using a tea towel and a knife, peel the skins from the potatoes.
Put immediately into a potato ricer or mouli and mash, ensuring their are no lumps or black eyes etc.  Do not use a food processor, as you want the potato to be light and airy, not heavy or paste-like.
Sprinkle the mash generously with the sea salt and the nettles, make a well in the centre, and then crack in the egg.  Sprinkle some of the flour over the potatoes and eggs, and then using a pinching motion, bring the eggs, flour and potato together.
Keep adding more flour, brining the sides up and in.  You want to work quickly here – not being too forceful with the dough (you want to maintain the lightness of the mash). Keep adding flour while the dough is still sticky, as depending on the moisture in the potatoes, you may need to add less or more than the 1 cup. Once the dough is no longer sticky and is pliable/rollable, you are done.
I guess one of the ways I can tell if the dough is done, is that if I press a finger into the side, the dent should remain depressed.  If it jumps back at you, you probably may have used to much flour or worked the dough too much.
Dust the board with a bit of flour, and then cut a chunk from the dough.  Roll the dough into a long sausage, about the diameter of a thumb.  Using a knife, cut thimblesize sections of dough.
Generously flour the sections of dough (to stop them from sticking), and shape to your preference.  Some use the back of a fork, others a wicker basket.  The idea is that you pattern the dough so a) the sauce sticks and b) it cooks quicker.  Normally when you pattern the dough, you end up putting an indent in one side too.
Lay the gnocchi on a well floured table/tablecloth, ensuring they don’t touch/stick.  If you are not going to cook them straight away, cover with a tablecloth to avoid them drying out. They also freeze rather well – just place on a tray in the freezer (not touching), and then when frozen, they can be put into plastic bags for easier storage.
To cook, move the gnoccho onto plates and then drop into a big pot of rapidly boiling salted water (the bigger the pot the better). They will instantly sink, and after a couple of minutes, rise to the surface. They should be done by this stage, but always test to make sure.
Drain and serve immediately with the sauce of your choice – the simpler the better.  In this case it was just a simple brown butter with sage.  And don’t forget the parmesan!




5 thoughts on “Nettle Gnocchi: Recipe & Guest Post

  • Hehe! You’re very welcome. I’ll let Mellie from Tummyrumbles know. Come back and let us know how it turns out. Also – if you’re in Victoria, I know some foodies who’d love some of your nettles! Cheers! SJeats

    Comment from: essjayeats

  • Killer! 6m2 of nettles growing waist high in the dormant veggie bed and only so much nettle pesto a man can eat, thanks for this recipe and thanks to the cheeky feline at for pointing me in your direction. Will be making this asap.

    Comment from: paolo

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Suzanne Farrell, Suzanne Farrell. Suzanne Farrell said: New Blog Post: Nettle Gnocchi – guest spot from @tummyrumbles […]

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  • Is it wrong for me to comment on my own guest post?!? Hmm..perhaps 😉

    But thanks for the inspiration and taking photos of the final product!

    Comment from: mellie

  • Brilliant! Looks really good, sounds delicious too 🙂

    Comment from: Anna

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