Recipe: Goat Cheese Gnocchi with Broccoli Pesto

Blessed are Aotearoa’s goat-cheese makers and goat milkers, for their products turn this rustic Italian dish (inspired by the great Marcella Hazan) into something extraordinary.

Words & recipe: Lucy Corry  Styling & photo: Carolyn Robertson

I use Brooklyn Creamery Goat Milk (available in the greater Wellington region) in this dish — keep an eye out for a goat-milk producer in your area. I also recommend hunting out award-winning Belle Chevre Betta Than Fetta and Talbot Goat Parmesan.

Serves: 6


For the gnocchi:
1.5 litres fresh goat milk
good grating of fresh nutmeg
1½ cups semolina flour
2 generously rounded tablespoons butter
3 egg yolks
1 egg
100g finely grated parmesan

To serve:
120g feta, crumbled
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


Grease a large shallow-sided oven tray with butter and set aside.

Pour the milk into a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Grate in the nutmeg and season well with freshly ground black pepper. Put the semolina into a jug.

Heat the milk until it’s shimmering with the urge to bubble. Turn the heat to low and start whisking the milk while you pour in the semolina in a slow, steady stream — don’t dump it all in at once, or it will become lumpy. (If this is too much multi-tasking, ask someone else to slowly pour in the semolina while you whisk.)

Once all the semolina is in, swap the whisk for a sturdy spatula or wooden spoon. Beat the mixture thoroughly until it comes away easily from the sides and bottom of the pot. It will start to resemble very soft mashed potato. Keep stirring energetically for about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the egg yolks, grated parmesan, 1½ teaspoons of salt and the butter. Beat again until smooth.

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Spread the mixture into the greased oven tray — it should be about 1cm thick. To smooth it out, place a piece of greased baking paper on top, greased side down, and smooth it out with the palm of your hand. Set aside to cool completely. (This can be done in advance — when the mixture is cool, cover with a tea towel and leave in the fridge for up to a day.)

Heat the oven to 200°C. Grease an ovenproof dish (or reuse the one you set the semolina in). Turn the semolina slab out onto a board. Using a 5cm biscuit cutter (or a glass), cut it into rounds (alternatively, cut into squares).

Lay them in the prepared dish, overlapping them slightly as if they were roof slates. (Tuck in any trimmed pieces, too.) Scatter over the crumbled feta and drizzle with the olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes, until hot in the middle and golden. Allow to rest for 5 minutes, then scatter over the broccoli pesto and serve.

Broccoli Pesto


1 small head of broccoli, stem trimmed
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
1 small clove, garlic peeled and crushed with ¼ teaspoon salt
1 small red chilli, seeds removed, finely chopped
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
finely grated zest of 1 lemon and 3 tablespoons lemon juice


Using a food processor or a sharp knife, chop the broccoli into fine rubble. You’ll need about 2 cups of finely chopped broccoli for this recipe — save the remainder for another dish.

Tip the broccoli into a bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Stir until combined, then season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

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Set aside until ready to use (this can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a day).

NZ Life and Leisure This article first appeared in NZ Life & Leisure Magazine.
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