Although gnocchi is classically Italian, the French created their own version of ethereally light “angel pillows.” Here’s the French version for gnocchi Parisienne from legendary chef Jacques Pepin. Bon appetit!
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, Gruyere or Asiago cheese
In a small saucepan, combine the water, salt and nutmeg with 2 tablespoons of butter and bring to a boil over high heat. Immediately add the flour all at once when mixture comes to a boil and beat the dough with a wooden spoon until it is thick and comes away from the side of the pan. Continue cooking and stirring to dry out the dough, about 30 seconds. Transfer the dough to a medium mixing bowl and allow dough to cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
Beat 1 egg into the dough until completely incorporated. Beat in 1/4 cup of cheese and another egg until blended. Beat in the last egg until the dough is shiny and very smooth.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat a large pot of salted water until it comes to a boil.
Prepare a bowl of ice water and keep it near the stove.
With a large spatula, transfer the dough to a large pastry bag fitted with a plain tip. (Alternately, use a resealable plastic bag, pressing dough into one corner. Cut off the tip of the bag; the opening should be about 1/2-inch wide.)
Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Carefully hold the bag over the water and press out the dough, using a small sharp knife or kitchen scissors to cut it into 1 1/2-inch lengths before it drops into the pot (see note).
Simmer gnocchi for 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the gnocchi to the ice water bath to stop the cooking. Remove the cooled gnocchi carefully to paper towels and pat dry.
Grease 9 x 12-inch baking dish* with the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter.
Arrange the gnocchi in the dish. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons of cheese. Bake until puffed, about 25 minutes.
Preheat the broiler. Broil the gnocchi 6 inches from the heat for 1 to 2 minutes, or until lightly browned. Serve right away.
*Or, divide gnocchi between four buttered “boat” ramekins for individual servings.
YIELD: 4 servings
For a richer version, prepare two cups of bechamel sauce. Stir in 1/2 cup grated cheese (e.g., Parmesan, Asiago, Gruyere, or gorgonzola). Pour half cup sauce over each portion, add a sprinkle of grated cheese and dot with a little butter. Bake as directed above.
PHOTOS: See an inside-the-kitchen look at gnocchi technique as Monterey’s Bistro Moulin Chef Didier preps his famous Gnocchi con Spinci. Photos by Colleen Manni.
SOURCE: Adapted from Jaques Pepin’s recipe Gnocchi Parisienne at www.foodandwine.com.