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Pumpkin and watercress gnocchi with green and purple basil

These gnocchi are sunshine coloured with bright green and purple streaks. The watercress and spring onion cut through the sweet, thick consistency of the pumpkin and bring a crisp, fresh element to the gnocchi. Use a brightly coloured pumpkin with flesh that is neither too tough nor too watery.

Seves 6

Gnocchi
750g/1lb 8oz pumpkin or other squash
100g/4oz plain white flour, sifted
40g/11⁄2oz vegetarian parmesan cheese, grated
25g/1oz watercress leaves, picked off the stalks
1 spring onion, finely sliced, green part included
15g/2oz small green and purple basil leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Sauce
150ml/6fl oz olive oil
25g/1oz watercress, large stalks removed, then roughly chopped
25g/1oz vegetarian parmesan cheese, grated
1 clove garlic, very finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Peel and cut the pumpkin into 3cm/11⁄2 in chunks and place in a heavy-based saucepan, just covered with water and seasoned with a little salt and pepper.
Bring to the boil, then simmer for 6-7 minutes until tender.
Drain well, mash with a fork or potato masher and add the sifted flour.
Mix well until thoroughly incorporated, then add the vegetarian parmesan, shredded watercress, sliced spring onion and the whole green and purple basil leaves.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Shape the mixture with your fingers - lightly dipped in flour - into elongated pieces the size of walnuts and set aside.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and drop the gnocchi in for 2 minutes until cooked and no longer floury.
Test one first to make sure that it does not fall apart when cooking.
Add a little more flour if necessary.
To make the sauce, mix the oil, chopped watercress, vegetarian parmesan, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl.
Place the drained gnocchi in a large flat bowl, pour the sauce all over and serve at once.

Source: The New Cranks Recipe Book

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