Wild Nettle Gnocchi with Cashel Blue Sauce

By Clodagh McKenna | March 13, 2015
I call gnocchi “Irish dumplings,” since they are made up of potato and flour—two ingredients that we make very well in Ireland! Velvety dumplings cushioned with earthy nettles and smothered in creamy, sweet Cashel Blue sauce and a lovely kick from the cayenne. Nettles are free and can be foraged so easily (with a pair of gloves on!), but if you aren’t as charmed as I am by the nettle, you could use spinach, fresh basil, or wild garlic leaves instead.


For the gnocchi
  • 4 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
  • 1 pound young nettle tips
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 3/4 cups plus 2 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour, plus more for flouring
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Sauce
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 3/4 cup crumbled Irish Cashel Blue cheese, or other strong blue cheese
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Make the gnocchi: In a large saucepan, cook the potatoes, whole and unpeeled, in a small amount of boiling water until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and let cool enough to handle. Then peel and mash them well, or put through a potato ricer into a bowl.

2. Wearing gloves to protect your hands, in a large pan of boiling water, blanch the nettles for 2 minutes. Drain and pat dry (the sting is removed once the nettles are blanched). Finely chop the nettles and fold them into the mashed potatoes.

3. Mix the egg yolks and flour into the potato and nettle mixture, and season with sea salt and black pepper. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead lightly until well combined. Shape into three or four balls.

4. Dust the work surface with more flour if necessary. Using your fingertips, roll one of the dough balls into a sausage about 3/4 inch in diameter. Cut the dough into 1-inch pieces—these are your gnocchi. Roll the gnocchi against the front of a fork to create ridges. (This will help hold the sauce on the gnocchi once cooked.) Repeat with the remaining dough balls.

5. Make the sauce: In a saucepan, combine all of the ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the gnocchi, and cook until they have risen to the surface of the water.

7. Tip the gnocchi into a skillet, add the sauce, and gently mix together. Transfer to serving plates and serve.

Excerpted from Clodagh’s Irish Kitchen, A Fresh Take on Traditional Flavors by Clodagh McKenna. Published by Kyle Books. Photography by Tara Fisher.

  • Wild Nettle Gnocchi with Cashel Blue Sauce