This week we made a french gnocchi which was made from pate a choux, a versatile dough made by cooking flour and water together until the flour cooks, after which eggs are added. Then gently pouched in water. Here in Dorie's recipe it is served in a bechemel and baked until golden brown.
I have to say when I first saw that we were cooking Gnocchi a la Parisienne I knew right then that I would want to change it up. No offence to Ms. Dorie or her dear friend Paule Caillat, but if I go to the trouble of making gnocchi (whether it be the Italian way with potatoes or the French way with Pate a choux) I want to showcase that ingredient. Unfortunately with Dorie's recipe I felt the gnocchi was lost in the sauce and tasted rather like french mac and cheese.
I far prefer the Thomas Keller version which he serves at his lovely restaurant in Yountville, California http://www.bouchonbistro.com/ In his gnocchi "Dough" he includes numerous herbs, mustard and cheese. Then the gnocchi are sauteed in olive oil until lightly browned. I have seen Mr. Keller saute these with tiny squares of butternut squash along with all sorts of mushrooms. In the restaurant they are changed according to the seasons. There are many different variations that you can do with this dish. Which is what I think cooking is all about.
I think this herbed version lends itself to earthy mushrooms. You could use : Hen in the woods, Thimble Morels, Shitake. I used some wonderful Chantrelles that were foraged in Oregon and some fresh young leeks sauteed in a beurre noisette (Brown butter sauce) and seasoned with some fresh thyme leaves. But you can use any mix of vegetables and seasonings you wish .
A few tips: Make the Gnocchi in advance and freeze. Then it can be pulled straight from the freezer and added right into the saute pan. Season with salt all the way thru the various steps. Use a slight drizzle of white wine vinegar in the sauce. It serves to punch up the flavor a bit. Epicurious.com has a link of Mr. Keller cooking his Parisienne Gnocchi. These were wonderful, tasty little pillows of divine goodness, that I could enjoy weekly... but I might gain a few pounds.