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

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