This is a PROJECT recipe. A freezer filler. Plan about 2 hours.
Learn to make pâte a choux, choux pastry, and an entire world of foods is revealed. It is the base for cream puffs, eclairs, gougères, and these Parisian gnocchi. This recipe will make about 200 chubby pillowy gnocchi. I plan about 10 to 12 per serving; this recipe sets me up for the entire winter.
The gnocchi will freeze spectacularly and make a quick and delicious meal scooped from a ziptop bag straight out of the freezer.
The finished dish pairs roasted vegetables, sauteed mushrooms, and the cheesy gnocchi in a satisfying colorful winter melange. In the spring, I’ll use asparagus, morels, and fava beans. During the summer, they’re delicious with squash, cherry tomatoes, and torn basil.
For the pâte a choux
1 1/2 cups (355 ml) water
12 tablespoons (167 g) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt (I use Diamond Crystal. If you use Morton’s, reduce by a squidge)
2 cups (240 g) all purpose flour
1 cup (100 g) grated gruyere cheese
1/2 cup (50 g) finely chopped herbs (parsley and chives plus thyme, rosemary, tarragon, chervil, or basil)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon kosher salt
6 large eggs
For the finished dish
Butternut squash, cubed
Brussel sprouts, halved
Large shallots, halved
Lemon, sliced thin and seeded
Shiitake mushrooms, sliced
For the choux, have your entire mis en place organized because the process moves right along. Set up the stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
Add to a 3-quart saucepan the water, butter, and salt and place over medium heat. When the butter has melted and the water is bubbling but not vigorously boiling, add the flour all at once. With a wooden spoon or stiff silicone spatula, stir vigorously until a dough forms. When it pulls away from the sides of the pan and no dough is sticking to the bottom of the pan. The dough will be glossy and smooth.
Continue to stir the dough for about 5 minutes, to release the moisture (this is what allows the dough to take in the eggs in the next step). Adjust the heat up and down as needed, making sure the dough does not take on any color. When stirring leaves a thin coating along the sides and on the bottom of the pan and steam releases from the dough, transfer it to the mixer.
Run the mixer on low for 6 or 7 rounds to release more steam from the dough. Add the cheese, herbs, mustard, and salt and stir on low until the herbs are incorporated and the cheese melts. With the mixer on the lowest speed, add three eggs, one at a time. Each time an egg is added, the dough will break. Scrape the bowl and run the mixer on low until the dough comes together before adding the next egg. Increase the speed to medium and add two more eggs, one at a time. Scrape the bowl, lifting the dough and making sure the bottom of the bowl is clean. Add the final egg, mix on medium speed until it comes together.
Fit a pastry bag with a 1/2″ plain tip, or use a large ziptop bag (do not cut the corner yet) and scoop all the dough into the bag. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. This is a good time to clean up and set up for the next step.
Line one baking sheet with paper towels and another with parchment paper. Fill a pasta pot or Dutch oven with water and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
If the dough is in a ziptop bag, snip the corner of the bag to allow piping. Pipe the dough directly into the pot, using a paring knife to slice the 1 1/2-inch gnocchi directly into the water. They sink then rise to the surface. Let them simmer and bob on the surface for a minute before lifting them with a spider or slotted spoon to the paper towel-lined baking sheet. Continue until all the dough has been used, moving the gnocchi to the parchment lined baking sheet once they have drained on the paper towels.
This process takes awhile. As the dough is poached, use a bench scraper to move the dough deeper into the bag. When the baking sheet of poached, drained gnocchi is filled, transfer from the paper towels to the parchment paper. Place the baking sheet in the freezer and line another baking sheet with parchment. Keep going, piping, slicing, poaching, draining, transferring, and freezing until you have a beautiful stash of gnocchi to feed you for awhile. As the gnocchi are frozen solid, transfer them to a ziptop bag or a freezer container.
To make the finished dish, plan 1/2 cup (a handful) of each of the vegetables for each person dining. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the butternut, Brussel sprouts, shallots, and lemon slices in olive oil and generously sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread the vegetables in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast until tender and charred on the edges here and there, about 25 minutes.
Plan half a cup of sliced mushrooms for each diner. In a nonstick skillet over medium high heat, warm a healthy splash of olive oil until shimmering. Add the shiitake and cook until browned here and there and on the edges, about 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside (or push to the edges of the pan and keep going).
Melt a large knob of butter and increase the heat to medium high. Add the gnocchi, about a dozen for each diner, and cook until browned here and there and heated through. Toss the gnocchi with the mushrooms and the roasted vegetables, stir well and serve while piping hot.
When you make this, please post and tag me (@cathybarrow #ParisianGnocchi) on Instagram or Facebook. I can’t wait to see what you make.