Take inspiration from the ingredients that underpin the healthy diet of Sardinia, writes Mary Contini as she gives us this recipe for Gnocchetti sardi with almond basil pesto

  • 10
  • 4
  • Easy
Gnocchetti sardi are small ear shaped pasta made traditionally by hand, rubbing a durum wheat and water dough on the inside of a wicker basket to give distinctive ridges to hold the sauce.


  • 2 cloves new season fresh garlic
  • 4 good handfuls fresh basil
  • 1 handful mint leaves
  • 200ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp peeled and roasted chopped almonds
  • 2 tbsp sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 tbsp grated pecorino sardo or other hard sheep’s cheese
  • freshly ground black pepper and sea salt to taste
  • 500g dried gnochetti sardi pasta


Gnocchetti sardi with almond basil pesto

1 Whizz the olive oil, basil and mint in a food processor until mixed to a rough paste, then add the chopped almonds, sundried tomatoes and pecorino.

2 Whizz again lightly just enough to keep the texture from the chopped nuts. The pesto should be rich and luxurious with a nutty bite from the almonds and cheese. Add more oil if needed.

3 Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, bearing in mind the pecorino is salty itself.

4 Cook the gnochetti sardi until al dente in plenty of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally to stop the pasta sticking. Drain, leaving some of the cooking water nestling in the folds of the pasta.

5 Add back into the saucepan with the almond pesto and toss it over the flame to heat it through. Serve piping hot with more gratings of pecorino sardo.

• Valvona & Crolla has a Sardinia wine tasting on 3 June at VinCaffe, 11 Multrees Walk, Edinburgh, 6pm (0131-557 0088) and on 30 June at Valvona & Crolla, 19 Elm Row, 6pm (0131-556 6066, www.valvonacrolla.co.uk). Tickets £12. 

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