Umfino (wild spinach) Pesto with Fresh cheese curd Gnocchi

Umfino is a Xhosa word used to describe a Traditional wild spinach dish made with a combination of wild leafy vegetables such as spinach and cabbage cooked with maize meal all cooked in one pot. This dish was a staple growing up as my grandmother would cook large pots for us as a family and it was enjoyed as a midday meal / or for supper usually eaten on its own without any meat accompaniment.

This traditional delicacy is what inspired the Umfino pesto with Gnocchi were we substituted the basil with the earthy leafy vegetable Spinach. It has given the dish typical italian dish (gnocchi) a titillating twist

Winter is slowing creeping in and we are all longing for some comfort food to keep us warm.

In the pesto recipe we used an amazing olive oil from the local brand & business –No. Land Farming. In support of their concept of urban farming where they move away from conventional farming in South Africa.




Serves: 4 – 6 persons

1 packet of fresh spinach, blanched

200 ml olive oil

50 g peanuts

1- 2 cloves garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

70ml Parmesan, freshly grated.

Extra Parmesan to serve


Trim the spinal and remove the white stalks

Blanch the spinach (dip into boiling water for 30 seconds and refresh in cold) Place the spinach in a food processor. Slowly add the oil to form an emulsion. Add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth.

Serve with gnocchi



Serves: 3-4 persons

200g fresh “Amasi” cheese

50G grated parmesan cheese

3/4  cup flour

2 egg yolks

Pinch of salt

Fine mielie meal for dusting.

(mielie meal is like a fine polenta)

In a bowl blend the “cheese” flour, parmesan and egg yolks and season with salt and pepper.

Add a little more flour if the mixture is still “wet”

Mix to a firm dough.

Shape into rolls about 1.5 cm in diameter

Cut the rolls into lengths of 1.5cm

To shape the gnocchi hold a fork in one hand and roll the gnocchi section along the tines of the folk to create ridges.

Dust with meilie meal and put on a tray to chill.

To cook gnocchi:

Bring a pot of salted water to the boil.

Drop in the gnocchi and remove when the rise to the surface.

Toss in vegetable oil so that the do not stick together.



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