Pâte à choux, I love you: Adventures in Parisian Gnocchi

Gnocchi with nasturtium pesto

Gnocchi with nasturtium pesto

The French pastry dough pâte à choux has a delicious reputation. It’s used to make familiar treats such as profiteroles, éclairs and gougères (yum, cheesy poofs!). But one of its lesser known abilities is to make a pillowy soft gnocchi.

Parisian gnocchi is different from its Italian cousin — instead of potatoes it’s made with a combination of water, flour and eggs. It also doesn’t require any rolling or forming. Once the dough is made it’s simply put into a piping bag and slowly cut into boiling water, forming little dumplings.

I am a sucker for all things gnocchi related, so when my husband asked me if I’d like to learn the art of Parisian gnocchi, I immediately agreed.

His favorite recipe to use is the one from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon cookbook. You can find links to it all over but here’s a good direct one. We followed it except for the mixture of herbs. Instead we used minced nasturtium leaves, echoing the flavors in the pesto.

The pesto was a simple, off-the-cuff experiment. Using nasturtium leaves from our garden, we pureed them with toasted pine nuts, grated Parmesan and minced garlic, drizzling in olive oil until the consistency was right. You can mix in basil if you’d like less kick but I really liked the spice of the leaves — blended with the buttery nuts and the rich cheese, it was a lovely combination.

Here’s our dinner in the making:

Cooking the pâte à choux

Cooking the pâte à choux

Mixing in the eggs and herbs

Mixing in the eggs and herbs

Piping the dough into lightly boiling water

Piping the dough into lightly boiling water

DSC_1814

Nasturtium pesto: nasturtium leaves, garlic, olive oil, toasted pine nuts and Parmesan

Searing the gnocchi -- hot pan, hot oil

Searing the gnocchi — hot pan, hot oil

So crispy and delicious -- try to resist eating them just like this!

So crispy and delicious — try to resist eating them just like this!

Mixing the gnocchi with pesto and caramelized onions.

Mixing the gnocchi with pesto, sautéed radishes and caramelized onions.

Parisian gnocchi w/nasturtium pesto

Close up of heaven…

Parisian gnocchi w/ nasturtium pesto

Parisian gnocchi w/ nasturtium pesto

Yes, it was pretty amazing.

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13 thoughts on “Pâte à choux, I love you: Adventures in Parisian Gnocchi

  1. I love that you love Pâte à choux 😉 That way I can see gorgeous photos and hear your tale. Those crispy browned bits must be divine. You are a woman of talent, J!

    • The crispy parts are my absolute fave! You can just put the poached gnocchi in a sauce or even bake them, but I think browning them in butter or oil is the way to go. This was all my husband’s doing — I’m a lucky girl! =)

  2. How curious! I grew up in Paris, and this is the first time I hear of “Parisian gnocchi”! After reading your post (it sounds quite delicious) I googled it, and there is indeed a dish called “gnocchi à la parisienne”. I couldn’t find anything on the history of the dish though! And the name is so strange; why “gnocchi”? Oh well… I will pursue my researches, and thanks for sharing the recipe! 🙂

  3. Pingback: Homemade Quince Paste: Making cheese plates happy | Attempts in Domesticity

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