Though I’ve eaten traditional gnocchi many times, I’ve only made it once. My sister and I were invited to make it with a family friend and her daughter. Over the course of a morning, we made enough for about fifteen meals, which we divided amongst our households. I remember it was a very tactile process, with flour covering a wide countertop and our hands pulling at the dough, rolling and shaping it and then pressing each gnocco with the back of a fork. A tomato sauce simmered on the stove while we worked, ready for the gnocchi we set aside to cook for our lunch. It was, of course, worth all the effort.
Considerably less effort was needed to make this week’s recipe, Gnocchi à la Parisienne. Since it’s made of pâte à choux instead of potato-based dough, a stand mixer takes most of the work out of making this dish. Shaping the gnocchi also took very little time, as they’re dropped by the teaspoonful. I chose to freeze most of mine and let the balance of the dough rest while I made the béchamel sauce.
I halved the béchamel, which came together quickly, though it was thicker than other recipes I’ve made. It was easy enough to spread in the baking dish and over the cooked gnocchi and I think its thickness was an asset once it was baked. I used a mixture of Gruyère and Parmesan on top.
My first bites were dominated by the flavour of the cheeses. But as I ate my way through the dish, the nutmeg started to assert itself, along with the very tender texture of the gnocchi and the creaminess of the béchamel. The cheeses began to complement the other flavours and textures, rather than overwhelm them. I enjoyed it, though I’m not sure it was enough for me to want to make this again. It is making me want to try making potato gnocchi again, just for comparison. Maybe I’ll organize another work party.
You can find many other blogged descriptions of this week’s FFWD recipe here: Gnocchi à la Parisienne