Gnocchi Maison

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From the Essential Pépin tv series, Episode 108: Cozy Carbs

There are four different types of gnocchi: Roman-style, which are made with semolina that is cooked into a mush and then cooled, molded, and cut into shapes; potato gnocchi, which are made with mashed potatoes; Parisian gnocchi, made with pâte à choux (cream puff dough), and ricotta gnocchi.

For this recipe, I add mashed potatoes to the dough for Parisian gnocchi to create an appealing hybrid that I particularly like. The mixture can be prepared and even poached ahead, either by dropping spoonfuls of it into boiling water or piping it, as I do here, from a pastry bag held directly over the pot. As the mixture emerges from the bag, I cut it into 1 1/2-inch lengths and let them drop into the pot. This technique is faster and produces gnocchi of a more uniform size and shape than the spoon method. Gnocchi make an excellent side dish for poultry, fish, or meat.

The gnocchi can be made up to a day ahead and refrigerated, then heated in the oven just before serving. —Jacques Pépin

Serves 4 as a side dish


1 medium baking potato, preferably a Russet (about 5 ounces)
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Put the potato in a small saucepan, cover it with water, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and boil gently for about 40 minutes, until the potato is tender. Drain and let cool. When the potato is cool enough to handle, peel it; set aside.

Combine the water, 1 tablespoon of the oil, the salt, and pepper in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, add the flour all at once, and mix well with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a ball, then place the pan back over the heat for 15 to 20 seconds to dry out the dough a little. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Bring 5 cups of water to a boil in a wide saucepan. Meanwhile, transfer the ball of dough to a food processor. Add the potato in pieces and process for about 10 seconds. Add 1 tablespoon of the cheese and the eggs and process for 5 to 10 seconds, until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a 3/4-inch plain round tip or use a spoon to drop spoonfuls of the mixture into the water.

Pipe the mixture from the pastry bag into the boiling water, cutting it off with a knife into 1 1/2-inch pieces as it emerges from the tip and letting the pieces drop into the water. (You should have 35 to 40 pieces.) Bring the water back to a light boil, then reduce the heat and boil very gently, uncovered, for 5 minutes. The gnocchi will rise to the surface as they cook. With a slotted spoon, transfer the gnocchi to a bowl of ice water.

When the gnocchi are cold, drain them and place them in a 3- to 4-cup gratin dish. Add the remaining tablespoon each of oil and cheese, along with the parsley, and mix well.

At serving time, heat the gnocchi in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Copyright © 2011 by Jacques Pépin. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

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