Parlez-Vous Style Herbed Gnoccis
Makes six hearty portions
These are not
the heavy, Italian potato-based pellets you might know. These are
how they make them in France, and they're like little fluffy
butter pillows from heaven! They're really, really time consuming
though, so they've been relegated to 'special occasion' status on our
boat. It's probably best to read all the directions a couple of
times before you start, because it's a bit involved. But they're
very worth all the effort, and you can pair them with all kinds of
things: grilled or broiled seafood, sauteed veggies, tomato sauce,
brown butter sauce, etc. You will miss them for days after
1.5 cups water
1.5 sticks of salted butter (organic or gourmet butter really is
preferrable here-- the taste of good butter really shines through)
2 cups sifted all purpose flour (honestly, all purpose white flour really does work better in this recipe vs. whole wheat)
1 splash of white wine
dash of salt and pepper
of assorted chopped herbs (thyme, rosemary, marjoram and tarragon is a
nice combo, but put in whatever you like)
1 cup of Swiss or Emmentaler cheese, not packed
6 large eggs
Set up a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, or set aside a large
mixing bowl with a wooden spoon and maybe drink a protein shake-- you've got
some heavy-duty mixing coming up, and it's not the kind you can
use beaters for.
Bring the water and butter to a simmer over medium-high heat in a large
saucepan. Once simmering, lower the heat to medium and dump in
all the flour, stirring with a sturdy spatula or spoon to form a
dough. The dough should not stick to the sides or the bottom of
the pan, it should stick to itself, and it should look smooth and
shiny, not dried-out. Keep stirring the dough in the pan for
another 5 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary to keep the dough
from toasting or scorching. What you're trying to do here is
allow enough liquid to cook off so the dough can absorb the eggs you're
going to add, but you don't want it to dry out too much or your gnoccis
will be crap.
The dough is ready when a thin skin forms on the dough, and the smell
of cooking (not burning) flour permeates the air. Quickly
transfer the dough from the pan into the mixing bowl, and add the wine,
salt, pepper and herbs and mix for a few seconds. Add the cheese
once the dough has had a moment to cool just a little.
With the mixer on the lowest speed, or mixing steadily by hand, add 3
eggs one at a time. Completely mix in each egg before adding the
next. Increase the speed and add two more eggs in the same way.
Once all the egg is mixed in, do a test: raise some of the
dough on your spoon or paddle. Does it move? It should
slide languidly down your tool. If it doesn't move, or it just
falls off, beat in the sixth egg.
Put the dough in a gallon-sized ziplock bag (or a pastry bag if you're
fancy!) and let it rest for half an hour at room temperature.
While it's resting, fill a stock pot with very lightly salted
water and bring to a simmer. Line a cookie sheet or the counter
with paper towels.
This is going to take a while, so get comfy: cut one of the
bottom corners off your ziploc bag, creating a hole that's about big
enough to fit your pinky into. With the bag in one hand and
a paring knife in the other, stand over the stock pot and pipe
inch-size bits of dough through the bag, cutting them with the paring
knife. You'll get into a rhythm, don't worry. Try to make
them all close to the same size.
First each little gnocci will sink into the pot, but as they cook
they'll rise to the top. Let them simmer a minute or two on the
surface of the water before scooping them out with a slotted spoon and
deposit them on the paper towels to drain. Don't worry that they
don't seem completely done-- you'll lightly cook them again before
serving. Alternate between dough-piping and gnocci-scooping until
you've done the whole batch.
Once all your gnoccis have drained, they need to be refrigerated for at
least half an hour before you use them in a recipe. Store them in
single layers in tupperware containers lined with wax or parchment
paper, or on lined cookie sheets wrapped with plastic. Or, you
can freeze them on the cookie sheet and store them in the freezer in
To cook them, you can lightly poach them in water or broth, or simmer them in sauce.