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Goat’s Cheese Gnocchi – Random Recipes #26

randomrecipes logoIt’s funny how we copy down recipes for meals we have enjoyed or tear out pages surreptitiously in waiting rooms yet, we often don’t get around to making the dishes.  Before you know it, you’ve got a veritable library stashed away.  You edit and tidy but the pile grows again.  When I was travelling in Europe and the UK during 2009 and 2010, I didn’t have many cookbooks at my disposal so I turned to recipe surfing on the Internet as well as the occasional foray into a waiting room.  I started carrying around little piles of printings and clippings from country to country.  Did I cook from them?  Not usually.  Since I’ve been back in Australia, my cookbook collection had returned to its rightful prominent place but I still have my clippings.

This month’s Random Recipe Challenge is ‘Cuttings and Clippings’.  Dom from Belleau Kitchen visited his Mum in London recently and cast his admiring eye over her well-ordered bunches of cuttings and clippings and old hand-written recipes and thus, inspiration was born.  I’ve spoken in the past how I keep my clippings and jottings in a basket beside my cook books.  I grabbed these, shuffled and ruffled them, closed my eyes and chose from the middle.
  Finally. Finally! Finally the Random Gods have smiled upon me and I selected a recipe that didn’t hark back to the mid 80’s and was something that I wanted to a) make and b) eat. This time it’s a page from 12 February 2011 – a recipe for Goat’s Cheese Gnocchi.  It’s from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s regular segment in The Weekend Guardian Magazine though he credits River Cottage Head Chef, Gill Meller with the recipe. It was possibly for a Valentine’s Day menu but I pulled out the page because it’s a great photo and sounded like a perfect sunny Autumn lunch. Happily, it’s the best gnocchi I’ve ever made, being light rather than stodgy. Decadent and moreish with the brown butter, it teams well with that other Autumn classic of Rocket, Pear & Parmesan salad.
Goat’s Cheese Gnocchi w Walnuts & Thyme
Goat's Cheese Gnicchi in a frying pan with walnuts
  • 500g potatoes, peeled
  • 100g soft goat’s cheese, crumbled (I used Meredith Dairy)
  • 240g plain flour, sifted
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 1tbsp chopped parsley (optional)
  • 60g butter
  • 1tbsp finely chopped thyme leaves
  • 100g toasted walnuts, chopped
  • 20g fresh grated Parmesan
  • salt and pepper


  • Cut the potatoes into similar sized chunks, place in saucepan, cover with 4cm of water, salt well and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes until tender.
  • Mash the potatoes with a fork but not completely smooth. A little texture in the gnocchi is good.
  • Transfer the mash to a bowl and allow to cool.  When tepid, add the flour, goat’s cheese, egg, seasoning and parsley if using.
  • Mix with a wooden spoon then, bring together with your hands to make a firm dough.
  • Knead dough gently for a few minutes in the bowl or on a floured surface then divide dough into four portions.
  • Roll each portion into a long sausage approximately 1cm in diameter. Cut each sausage into 2.5cm long pieces. Roll each piece over the back of a fork if you wish to create the ‘classic gnocchi indent’.
  • Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil then reduce to a simmer. Add the goat’s cheese gnocchi in batches to the water and cook for a few minutes until they rise to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside in a dish in a low oven. Repeat with remaining batches.
  • Warm butter over a medium heat until it is a deep, rich hazelnut brown then dip the base of the pan into cold water to stop it cooking immediately. Better for it to be a paler golden brown than to have a butter that is burnt and bitter.
  • Add the lemon, thyme, walnuts, goat’s cheese gnocchi and seasoning to the pan and toss.
  • Serve with Parmesan sprinkled over. Yum!
A fork rests in a dish of Goat's Cheese Gnochi with walnuts
A reminder of the basic rules:

1 – locate your clippings, old hand-written recipes, tear sheets etc and place them all on a table or floor…
2 – close your eyes, put out your hand and randomly land it on a clipping
3 – make that exact recipe – do not cheat, you’re only cheating yourself!
4 – you may adapt the recipe for health/dietary/product availability purposes only

7 comments… add one
  • Lizzy (Good Things) March 19, 2013, 8:23 pm

    Oh… when I left my ex and downsized, I threw out a two foot high pile of torn out recipes that I'd been collecting since my teen years! Wish I hadn't. A lovely recipe, Fiona. Love the concept too of choosing dishes to cook!

  • belleau kitchen March 19, 2013, 11:35 pm

    wow, my second gnocchi recipe this month… yours is beautiful and it's something ive never made so i'm interested to give it a go… SO glad you were pleased with your random pick this time too, it does look like a very good thing, so I can see why you're happy… thanks for the entry x

  • Fiona Bris-Vegas! March 20, 2013, 9:22 am

    Thanks to you both Lizzy and Dom for your regular feedback and comments. I love participating in a challenge (any challenge) and how wonderful that I can do this from half a world away. Viva la Internet!

  • Suzanne March 31, 2013, 10:12 am

    I'm always impressed by people who can not only make gnocchi, but make them look fantastic – mine have always failed big time. These look and sound gorgeous, glad you got a good recipe!

    • Fiona Bris-Vegas! April 11, 2013, 6:48 pm

      I've never had much luck either, which is why I'm so thrilled with the results. Give it a go and see how you go! Thanks for visiting Suzanne.

  • Stacy March 31, 2013, 10:31 am

    I love gnocchi since it's the easiest fresh pasta to make. I am also a fan of the man I like to call Hugh Double-Barrel because I can never seem to remember his names. Your gnocchi looks delicious with the browned butter, lemon, thyme and walnuts. I see why you saved this clipping. Yum!

    • Fiona Bris-Vegas! April 11, 2013, 6:50 pm

      Hi Stacy – thanks for your comments. As I write, I'm thinking of grabbing the other 1/2 batch out of the freezer and giving my Thursday evening a bit of zing.

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