Spelt Gnocchi with Raw Zucchini Pesto Sauce


My nonna used to make white flour gnocchi almost every week for me with a tomato ragu sauce and I would eat a HUGE plate for lunch.  These potato dumplings have spelt flour instead of white wheat flour.  Spelt flour is my “wheat” flour of choice when making fresh pasta or gnocchi because it still has some gluten yet is very high in fiber and non-GMO!  This recipe comes from Zoila, a lovely Umbrian lady I met while in Umbria this summer.  She runs cooking workshops and is a mobile chef in the province of Umbria.

Meet Zoila from www.italylovestocook.com

Ingredients (Use organic whenever possible)

Serves 4 (main dishes) or 6 (appetizers)


500g or 1/2kg boiled starchy (Russett) potatoes in salted water, cooled completely

1 egg

150g or about 2/3 cup spelt flour

4L pot filled 3/4 with water

2 tbsp olive oil


  1. Bring water to a boil and add 1/2 tbsp coarse sea salt and olive oil.
  2. Using a stainless steel potato ricer, “mash” boiled and cooled potatoes into a large bowl.
  3. Add egg and mix
  4. Add spelt flour little by little and kneed dough on wooden surface or countertop until flour is combined.  You will know there is enough flour when your fingers have just a little bit of dough on them.
  5. Take about a little more than 1/2 cup of dough at a time and roll into a 1/2″ diameter.  Using a clean sharp knife, cut 1/2″ pieces and place on another cutting board and sprinkle with spelt flour to prevent them from sticking to the surface.
  6. Add 15-20 gnocchi at a time to boiling water and wait until gnocchi float to the top and the water begins to boil again.  This means they are cooked and ready!
  7. Remove gnocchi and place on serving plate.  Add pesto sauce below and mix gently.


2.5 cups chopped zucchini (1″ slices)

1/4 cup almonds without peel (I would recommend soaking almonds with the peel for at least 2 hours and then easily popping them between two fingers and removing skin)

3/4 cup fresh basil leaves

2-3 garlic cloves

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino cheese (this is from sheep milk)

1/3 – 1/2 cup cold pressed extra virgin olive oil

sea salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place all ingredients, except olive oil,  in a food processor or commercial blender and pulse several times.
  2. Slowly pour olive oil and mix well until smooth in texture.
  3. Sauce will keep in fridge for 2-3 days.