Try this creamy blue cheese, sundried tomato and gnocchi bake for a vibrant vegetarian recipe that makes a delicious alternative Easter lunch. Making your own gnocchi is surprisingly simple, and it tastes so delicious when paired with a rich cheese sauce, spinach, sundried tomatoes and crunchy hazelnuts.
Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180oC.
Make the gnocchi. Prick the potatoes and put on a baking tray. Bake for 1-1 hour 15 minutes or until cooked all the way through. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to gas 4, 180°C, 160°C. While hot, carefully peel the skins off the potatoes and pass through a potato ricer or sieve into a large bowl. Mix in the beaten egg and basil until just combined. Season to taste.
Using your hands, knead the flour into the potato mixture until it is a pliable dough that isn’t too sticky to touch. Put the dough on a work surface and knead for 4-5 minutes. Try not to overhandle the mixture.
Divide the dough into 4 and roll each piece into a long sausage shape on a floured work surface. Cut 2cm (1in) pieces off the sausage shape to make the gnocchi. Set aside on a floured baking tray until you’re ready to cook.
Make the sauce. Melt the butter in a medium pan over a medium heat. Add the flour, mix well and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly add the milk, whisking continuously until smooth. Return to the heat and bring to the boil, whisking constantly. Add half of the blue cheese and stir well. Season to taste with the nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the gnocchi and cook for 2-3 minutes or until they float to the surface. Drain.
In a medium bowl, gently combine the cooked gnocchi and the white sauce. Pour half of the mixture into a 2 litre (3 1/3pt) ovenproof dish. Cover with the spinach, then top with the remaining sauce and gnocchi. Scatter with the sundried tomatoes, remaining cheese and hazelnuts. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is bubbling and golden brown. Serve.
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