Around My French Table Eating Gnocchi à la Parisienne


This is my first official blog post as a part of the French Friday’s With Dorie  (FFWD) blog ring, a system of bloggers who all make the same recipe from the cookbook, Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan. Before I jump right in to what I did and what my family thought of Gnocchi  à la Parisienne, I thought I’d take a paragraph (or two) and explain how exactly I jumped on the AMFT bandwagon.

I suppose the first finger needs to be pointed at my 6 year old daughter, Evelyn. You see, she’s really quite blessed to be a part of a full-immersion French kindergarten through our public school system. Though it’s been only 4 months in the program, I am beyond impressed with how much she is learning, how well she is thriving in the program, and (perhaps most importantly) how much she loves school and all things French! But, that’s a bit of a bunny trail.

So, from there my husband needs to shoulder some of the “blame” in getting me going. You see, he is a ha-UGE NPR fan. He heard them singing the praises of Greenspan’s book, and thought it would be a great way to involve one of my passions (cooking) with Evelyn’s new-found passion (French). So we tried our first AMFT recipe early last week, hachis Parmentier, which was unbelievably divine and just a wicked-awesome comfort food dish. Inexpensive to make too!

So in the process of trying to figure out how to pronounce hachis Parmentier (both the hubster and I do not speak a lick of French), I stumbled across FFWD, and here I am. Oh and in case you are wondering, it’s pronounced (AH-shee, pahr-MEN-tee-ay).  Parmentier was the dude that worked wonders for promoting the popularity of the potato in France around the time of Napoléon.

Ok, so that was more like 4 paragraphs. Let’s get on to the gnocchi.

I’ll begin by saying that I was pretty skeptical here for a couple of reasons. One, though I do love pasta, gnocchi has never been one of my faves. Guess I am more of a ziti kinda-girl. Two, and this is where I out my country-bumpkin self as being thoroughly unAmerican… I am really not a fan of homemade mac and cheese. I’d be much happier crackin’ open the box of Kraft Mac and Cheese with the little silver pouch of processed cheese than eat the homemade stuff. And as I looked at the recipe for the gnocchi, it really seemed akin to the classic American dish that I have avoided at every picnic, buffet, family get-together or church luncheon that I have ever attended in my life. Not my thing.

But, being eager to participate, I set to work making the dish while the freckled munchkins and hubster sat in front of the woodstove and played Old Maid while it snowed outside. They tried to recruit me to play, but my attention was riveted to pages 374-375 of AMFT. Plus, I was dealt the old maid right of the bat. No fun.

Photo below: Gnocchi Dough Ingredients and My Old Maid Hand

Photo below: Gnocchi dough after fervent stirring over medium heat.

Photo below: Awaiting one-by-one egg addition in the stand mixer.

Photo below: Evelyn taking a break from Old Maids to make faces in said stand mixer.

Now, I opted to whip the last egg white and fold it in the dough. Incidentally, I use the same trick for my waffle recipe that I got from an ancient copy of Rumford Cookbook. Does wonders at making for a lighter dough, in my opinion.

Now for the béchamel sauce. Though exceptionally simple looking and perhaps even seemingly unexciting, this. was. da. bomb. Lordy, so creamy and smooth.

Photo below: Ingredients for the remainder of the dish(Note: cheese goes on the bottom and top of the dish, not in the sauce. Butter DOES go in the sauce. Lots and lots of butter.)

Tips on boiling the gnocchi: the dough certainly was sticky but I found it workable. I took my measuring teaspoon to scoop out even portions of the dough and used my 1/2 teaspoon to scrape the dough out and into the boiling pot of water that was the dough’s destiny.

Photo below: Pasta, toweling off and waiting for its second (more luxurious) bath in the béchamel sauce.


Now, as far as cheese, I loved the fact that I had everything on-hand for this recipe (no runs to the grocery store needed), so I actually used some of the Gruyère cheese that I had on hand from my nummy hachis Parmentier.

Photo below: Assembled and awaiting bubble-iciousness in the oven. With butter. Gotta have the butter.

And without further ado…
The Beauty Shot

It was, in a word, IN-FREAKIN’-CREDIBLE. So creamy, so soothing. Really was the perfect snowy-day-sitting-by-the-wood-stove-playing-old-maid kind of dish. Everyone in the fam, the 4 year old, the 6 year old, and the two 35 year olds – loved it too.

And me, the mac n’ cheese skeptic; totally sold on Gnocchi  à la Parisienne.  I am sure this was only the first of many preparations to come.

Check out other cooks variations and interpretations of Gnocchi  à la Parisienne.

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