I been so absent from my French Fridays with Dorie group, I confess that I totally have skipped a whole month – thank god for their rules which are so forgiven, unlike my other cooking clubs. I love when you can cook without the pressure of being kicked out. Plus, the December recipes choices were all over the place, and you had to choose what to cook and on what week, which I did not like AT ALL, it felt somewhat disconnected. I hate to be given a choice to do a specific task, the reason I like cooking clubs is because I’m being told what to cook and on what date – a bit of structure is good in my chaotic life – and the fact that I can compare my experiences with all the others participating cooks that are cooking the same thing is the highlight of making it in the first place.
So I was so glad to see that in January, the group was back to the old format. And the recipe this week was Gnocchi a la Parisienne.
Being Italian, gnocchi was (and still is) a religion in my family. My paternal nonna (grandmother) taught pretty much everyone in the family the art of spending a ridiculous amount of time whipping up potato gnocchi’s for those ten-hour family get together around the dinning room table. Eventually everyone had his or her method of doing them. But, there was always that one clear person who made them better than everyone else, including my nonna. In this case her younger son, my uncle, was the ultimate gnocchi maker in the family. He boiled the potatoes, rice them, made the dough and then everyone pitched in to form them with forks into those perfect little ridge rounds that would absorbed the best bolognese sauce outside of the mother country.
So when I came across this version of gnocchi, and I have to come clean here, Dorie’s recipe was NOT the first time I came across it, I was mesmerized.
Gnocchi made with Pate a choux, yep sir, repeat after me, path ah shoo? If you had been cooking for a while you know that if it rings a bell it is because this type of dough is used to make éclairs, cream puff or those yummy savory gougeres.
Only the French would come up with ways to use this dough for something like this.
For this French style gnocchi, the dough is spooned (in my other recipe it is piped) directly into poaching water to form the airy dumplings. Unlike the Italian version that are pretty much “cooked” once they break the surface of the water, the parisianne gnocchi are still a bit gummy and you will need to continue cooking them, in this case in the oven enfolded with a creamy, cheesy béchamel sauce. Then topped with more cheese like Parmesan and Comte or Gruyère and Emmenthal.
We can be fancy and all, but between you and me let just called these ultimate mac n’ cheese.
I followed the recipe but, made a bit of teaks along the way. I added cheese to the dough, in this case Parmesan. And in the béchamel sauce I also added a bit of Dijon mustard just to give it a bit of a kick in the pants. It did not take away at all and I think it gave it a bit more of depth. To top them I did a combo of cheeses, Gruyere, Fontina and more Parmesan – I believe this is the trinity of the melted cheese mecca.
Tom: “They are good, I would actually use them more as a side dish to something, like a steak or pork – I like your Italian gnocchi’s better, and they are more of a full meal than these. But, I would eat them again”
As for me, I like them as well, plus today we are totally NOT enjoying thirty-degree temperatures here in Florida, so this dish was definitely in line for a place in the comfort food lane. I will most likely make them again, except this time I may try to add some type of herbs in the dough – maybe basil? Parsley? Or totally go all out and finally try the saved recipe that I originally clipped and Sautéed them over butter and olive oil with lots of sage.