I come home from a quick trip to our nation's capital and what's in the fridge? Nothing. Just like everybody else's fridge after vacation. What do you make out of nothing? Gnocchi. Not the one made with the potatoes and the kneading and the rolling and the cutting. That's way too much work today, save that for company. These are tender nuggets based on pate a choux, a basic building block for pastry chefs and savory cooks alike. Pate choux is harder to pronounce than make. You should have everything you need on hand. Water, butter, flour, eggs and some seasonings. I like whole grain mustard, nutmeg and parmesan. These will freeze well and it's worth making more than you need just to keep the freezer happy.
I made a quick one pan dish with wild leeks, fiddleheads and red pepper seasoned with wine, lemon and parsley. You can bake them with a little cream and tomato sauce or toss with wild mushrooms, fennel and broth or even go all Sandra Lee (don't forget the cocktails and tablescapes) and bake them with canned lentil soup and frozen green beans, yummoo!
Confession: Our fridge wasn't exactly empty. The dog sitter who watches our place while we are out of town left a fridge full of wild leeks and fiddleheads. No you cannot have his name.
Easy Gnocchiserves 4 as a main course
- 6 oz water
- 1 stick unsalted butter (4oz)
- 1 cup flour
- 4 large eggs
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
- 1 oz parmesean grated fresh is better and cheaper
- good pinch of nutmeg
Get a good sized pot of salted water boiling to cook the gnocchi
In a small heavy bottomed pan heat up the water with a good pinch of sea salt and butter over medium heat.
When the water / butter mixture is just beginning to boil add the flour all at once and stir with a heavy wooden spoon. Reduce heat to low and keep stirring for a couple minutes. You should see a light film on the bottom of pan.
Using the paddle attachment on your stand mixer, or by hand, add the eggs one at a time. Be sure the egg is fully incorporated before you add the next one. It will look all loose and slippery in the beginning then it will stiffen up as the egg gets absorbed. Repeat two more times. Before you add the last egg toss in the mustard, cheese and nutmeg.
Using a pastry bag (pastry bag tips at the end of post) with a plain tip about 3/4" diameter pipe the dough into the simmering water cutting at 1" intervals. This is easier than it sounds.
Simmer for 3 minutes and rest on a sheetpan. They will swell up and almost double in size when they are done. If the water is boiling too rapidly they may fall apart. Cover pasta with a kitchen towel to keep from drying out. Repeat until all the dough is used. Easy.
Pastry Bag Tips
- you can use a ziplock bag, just snip the corner
- fold the bag way over over your left hand and fill with your right. This will keep the bag clean and less product sticking to the bag
- no need to use a pastry tip for this
- squeeze all the product down to the bottom before you start
- hold the bag in your left hand and gently squeeze while you cut the gnocchi with a paring knife
- disposable bags are handy for this type of stuff
Cook like you mean it, G