These little Gnocchi are referred to as Pâte à choux Gnocchi because they use a basic Pâte à choux recipe to start the process.
We made these in class at the Austin Whole Foods Culinary Center. This is the first cooking class I have ever taken and I enjoyed it immensely. The class, in teams, made 3 recipes in the course of the class. Our instructor Jason J. Edgar made the Gnocchi ala Parigina as a demonstration before we started. I will get them all posted so you can have the recipes and tips we found helpful.
Heat the water, salt and butter in a deep pan over high heat.
Reduce the heat to medium, add the flour gradually, and stir rapidly with a stiff heat proof or wooden spoon until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan and the bottom of the pan is clean, with no dough sticking to it.
The dough should be glossy and smooth but still moist.
Enough moisture must evaporate from the dough to allow it to absorb more fat when the eggs are added.
Continue to stir for about 5 minutes with a kneading motion, adjusting the heat as necessary to prevent the dough from coloring.
A thin coating will form on the bottom and sides of the pan.
When enough moisture has evaporated, steam will rise from the dough and the aroma of cooked flour will be noticeable.
Immediately transfer the dough to the stand mixer bowl. Add the mustard and herbs. Mix for a few seconds to incorporate the ingredients and release some of the heat, then add 1 cup cheese. Add salt to taste.
With the mixer on the lowest speed, add 3 eggs, one at a time, beating until each egg is completely incorporated before adding the next one.
Increase the speed to medium and add another 2 eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each one.
Turn off the machine. Lift some of the dough on a rubber spatula, then turn the spatula to let it run off. It should move down the spatula very slowly; if it doesn’t move at all or is very dry and just falls off in a clump, beat in the additional egg.
Place the dough in a large pastry bag fitted with a 5/8-inch plain tip (you can just cut the end off the bag and not use a tip) and let it rest for about 30 minutes at room temperature. (If you have only a small pastry bag, fill it with half the dough two times.)
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a simmer. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. We used a very light terry towel but a tea towel would work excellent for this step. Line a second baking sheet with parchment paper.
Twist the end of the pastry bag to push the dough into the tip. (From time to time, as the bag empties, you will need to twist the end again.) As you squeeze the back of the bag with your right hand, hold a small knife in your left hand and cut off 1-inch lengths of dough, allowing the gnocchi to drop into the pot. Pipe about 24 gnocchi per batch.
We used the large pastry bag and filled all the Gnocchi dough into it. One of us held the bag and the other cut the dough off as it came out. You can rest the bag on the edge of the pot for stability while doing this. I dipped my knife into the hot water every few Gnocchi to keep it cutting clean.
First, the gnocchi will sink in the pot. Keep the water temperature hot, but do not boil. Once the gnocchi float to the top, poach them for another 1 to 2 minutes, then remove them with a slotted spoon or skimmer and drain on the towel-lined baking sheet.
Taste one to test the timing; it may still seem slightly undercooked in the center, but it will be cooked again. I cut mine in half and the inside is dry and puffy. Repeat the cooking process with the remaining dough.
Preheat the oven to 400. Place the drained gnocchi in a casserole dish, spread in an even layer. Spoon the Mornay over the top of gnocchi, and top with the remaining shredded cheese. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Yield: 6 servings
Source: Austin Whole Foods Culinary Center
The Mornay Sauce was already made for us. I thought it was a perfect accompaniment. You can find a recipe from Emeril Lagasse for Mornay Sauce on the Food Network Site. I’ve found his recipes to be reliable and good.
After I got home and started thinking that I could pipe these onto a baking tray and bake them just like cream puffs and you’d have a little appetizer. I’ll try them on my next batch of home made Gnocchi.