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Pan Fried Gnocchi with Creamy Cavolo Nero and Leek Sauce & Pan Fried Cod

22 January 2024

A creamy vibrant green sauce studded with crispy fluffy potato pillows, such a delight! The sauce is simply cavolo nero (stems and all, no food waste here), leeks, garlic cloves and parsley boiled in salted water for about 10 minutes to soften. Then drained and added to a blender, add in some parmesan cheese, creme fraiche and a few tablespoons of water to loosen it up. Blend until a smooth green sauce. Great to make ahead of time!

The gnocchi you can just boil for a few minutes in hot water and add to the sauce or spend a few extra minutes of your time to pan fry in some olive oil until crispy.

Delicious as a vegetarian meal or add some fish, prawns or chicken if you’d like some extra protein. Grilled halloumi would be great too!

Pan Fried Gnocchi with Creamy Cavolo Nero and Leek Sauce & Pan Fried Cod

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Dinner, lunch Italian
By Saffron Serves: 2
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 25 minutes


  • 200 g cavolo nero, stems separated. Leaves and stems roughly chopped
  • 1 small leek, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Small handful parsley, stem and all, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp creme fraiche
  • 50 g parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • Pepper & salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Packet fresh or dried gnocchi (500 g)
  • 2 cod fillets (optional)



Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and add the cavolo nero stems. Cook for 5 minutes until softened.


Add the leeks, the cavolo Vero leaves, garlic and parsley and simmer away for another 5-7 minutes until softened.


Drain the vegetables (if you like reserve the water to cook the gnocchi) and add to a blender together with the creme fraiche, parmesan cheese and pepper and salt. Blend until smooth an bright green, add some water if needed to loosen the sauce. Set the sauce aside while you prep the gnocchi and the cod (if using).


For the cod: season well on all sides with pepper and salt. Heat olive oil and butter in a frying pan and add the cod fillets. Let the fish sear without moving for 3-4 minutes on medium heat. Flip the fillets and repeat on the other side, 2-3 minutes.



If using fresh gnocchi, heat the olive oil and butter in a frying pan add gnocchi. Pan fry until golden and crisp while you keep stirring, ± 5 minutes.


If using dried gnocchi, I like to boil it quickly for 2 minutes, then drain and let dry slightly for a few minutes. Then pan fry as mentioned above.


Another options is just to boil the gnocchi for 2-3 minutes (according to the packaging), then drain and add the sauce and gnocchi back into the pan and heat up.

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