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.
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.