Alessandra’s peppery salmon gnocchi

Alessandra was our Italian flatmate in my final year of uni at Liverpool – she was the sea of calm in a decadent household in Toxteth. She kept herself largely to herself, was quiet and demure until her boyfriend arrived. Then no amount of doors, floors and ear plugs could stop you hearing her.


Peppery salmon gnocchi – not a stunner to look at but a real blinder to taste

My diet at this time was polish Kielbasa sausage, beer and chips. Alessandra showed me this dish when I was hungover and woefully helpless. It’s simple, effortless and tasty and has only four ingredients. It doesn’t look the prettiest so you can either serve it from the pan in to coloured bowls of dress it up with a few bits of basil.

I hadn’t cooked this in a fair few years and it came to mind when I needed an emergency food fix for Jarod. This was just the trick – it takes less than ten minutes to make.

The below could serve six, realistically it serves four. Gnocchi is stodgy, this works equally well with tagliatelle.

Music to prepare this dish to: ‘Ride on time’ by Black Box 


  • 200g Full fat mascarpone
  • 200g smoked salmon, hand torn to make cooking through easier
  • 1 to 1.5tsp ground black pepper
  • 350g gnocchi (you can also use pici, tagliatelle or strozzapreti)


  1. Set a pan of salted water on the boil.
  2. In a large pan, heat the mascarpone over a low heat.
  3. Once loosened, add the salmon and the pepper and stir till the salmon has cooked through. Taste and season with salt if need be – the amount you need, if any, depends on your salmon.
  4. Remove the salmon mix from the heat and cook your gnocchi. I always under do it by 30 seconds as it finishes cooking in the sauce.
  5. Strain the gnocchi and add to the salmon mix. Stir through till all pieces are covered and serve immediately.

I like this kind of rich dish with an incisive white. I love Swiss wines, and 2007 Cave de la côte,  Oenoline la Côte works a treat (don’t get young Swiss wines… you’ll regret it)

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