Sunday, January 16, 2011

Gnocchi Thank You!

Just because all the dishes are dirty doesn't mean the food's worth eating!
A little late this week with my French Fridays with Dorie post, in which I, along with a couple hundred other crazies, am cooking my way through Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan.  This week:  Gnocchi a la Parisienne.

Right up front:  Fail.  Big time.  But you know how it is--the good dishes are all alike.  The bad ones are each interesting in their own way.  And away we go...

Wow!  Need to use a filter on these beater is white!
This is a two-part dish.  The "gnocchi" are really a pate a choux, the same dough used in the gougeres and cream puffs and eclairs.  Here is the glossy dough.  Can you hear it?  It's saying, "Make the pastry cream!  Ganache, too! We'll be ready!" Sadly, though, it was not to be.  The gnocchi are made by dropping little pieces of the dough in hot salted water for a few minutes, like pasta, and then scooping them out to dry.  I tasted one.  It was a little doughy, with a cooked exterior.  Then I had to taste several more, and even though they were oddly habit forming I can't say they were good.  Rather what a boiled flat cream puff ought to taste like.

The little gnocchi are coated with the second part of the dish, the bechamel.  Bechamel is one of the classic four mother sauces and is made by making a paste of flour and butter, cooking it, and then adding hot milk.  Then I added nutmeg, salt and pepper.  It was very, very thick, more like a paste or goo than an actual sauce.  I don't think that was right but I figured I'd take a chance.
Run away, little gnocchi!  The Bechamel is coming!
Here is a picture of the gnocchi being attacked covered by the blob of bechamel.  This dish was not looking good.  I forged ahead.  At this point about 3/4 of the pots that I own were dirty, so why not?  (This is one of the recipes that makes it obvious that Dorie has someone else cleaning her dishes.)  So there was a topping of cheese, grated Emmentaler and Parmesan in my case.  And a further dotting of butter. 

Just out of the oven,  lovely!  Dorie called it kind of a French version of mac-and-cheese, comfort food.  But I found it heavy, too rich and a sad waste of choux paste.  As for the kids, J loved it, but he loves almost everything.  D was lukewarm on it, while for M and P one bite was plenty.  And Bill, he just said, "That was the most complicated macaroni and cheese I've ever seen." 

No gnocchi in our future.  But that's what this FFwD is all about, stepping outside my comfort zone.  I think very little of this was due to the my cooking; it just wasn't the kind of food we like.  What do we like?  How about this mac and cheese recipe, for starters.  Oh, and it all goes down better with a Winter Mojito.  Cheers!


musicalmary said...

I'm proud of you for trying, and especially for dirtying all those pots. I would have needed a sedative after that. You need to watch Julie and Julia!!! Forge on.

Elaine said...

Hi, Cheryl. Thank you for stopping by! I thought this tasted better the next night, but yes, it won't replace macaroni 'n cheese in our house either. I am looking forward to making the mousse cake this week.