Faster, Eas­ier Gnoc­chi

Gnoc­chi’s rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing de­li­cious yet a lit­tle chal­leng­ing and time-con­sum­ing is fair, but the French ap­proach to Italy’s rus­tic dumpling makes it eas­ier and a whole lot faster, too.

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FRENCH-STYLE GNOC­CHI are made with pâte à choux [paht ah SHOO] — just water or milk, but­ter, flour, eggs, and salt. This dough takes a sa­vory route with added herbs and cheese. Not thick enough to knead, but too thick to pour, this dough is al­ways piped. And for this style of gnoc­chi, it’s piped into poach­ing water. Tech­ni­cally, gnoc­chi are cooked at this stage, but they’ll be a bit gummy, so you’ll need to con­tinue cook­ing them — try bak­ing them in our lux­u­ri­ous mac ’n cheese, or sauté them for a crispy, golden ex­te­rior, as on page 39.

PÂTE À CHOUX for gnoc­chi needs to be a bit stiffer than for other uses, such as éclairs. Be­cause of this, you may not use all the eggs called for in the recipe. Cook­ing the dough (step 1), dries it slightly so it can ab­sorb the liq­uid from the eggs. Add the first three eggs, one at a time. Test the dough — if it doesn’t form the “V” (step 3), add a por­tion of the last beaten egg, un­til it passes the test, then you’re ready to pipe and poach. When poach­ing, don’t boil the gnoc­chi, or they’ll dis­in­te­grate. At first they’ll sink to the bot­tom of the pan, but float once cooked. Shock them in an ice water bath, then spread into a sin­gle layer (so they don’t stick to­gether) and chill. You can store the gnoc­chi in the fridge a few days, or freeze in an air­tight con­tainer up to six weeks.

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