A basic pate a choux dough ratio is 2 parts water, 1 part butter, 1 part flour and 2 parts egg, plus salt. Here, the amount of water is reduced to make a denser pasta, and cheese is added for flavor. The dough can be finished in a saucepan, but author Michael Ruhlman says a better puff or rise is achieved when the eggs are beaten in by a mixer.
Serve with a simple brown butter sauce, or with sauteed mixtures of basil, tomato and garlic or corn, bacon and fava beans.
Make Ahead: The gnocchi can be poached and refrigerated a day in advance, or chilled and frozen for up to 1 month.
- 6 ounces (3/4 cup) water
- 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 ounces (3/4 to 1 cup) flour
- 4 large (8 ounces total) eggs, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Combine the water, butter and salt in a medium saucepan over high heat; bring just to a boil, stirring, then reduce the heat to medium.
Add the flour and stir rapidly to incorporate and form a paste that will pull away from the sides of the pan. Cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove from the heat.
Cool the saucepan slightly (for 4 to 5 minutes) by dunking the underside in cold water; the dough needs to remain warm.
Add the eggs one at a time, stirring rapidly after each addition. The dough will go from shiny to matte each time. (Alternately, transfer the warm butter-flour mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer; beat on low speed, adding the eggs one at a time, until well incorporated.) Add the cheese and mix just until incorporated.
Line a baking sheet with a clean, dry dish towel.
Heat a large pot of water over medium to medium-high heat so that it is barely bubbling.
Spoon the paste into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch tip (or use a quart-size resealable plastic food storage bag and cut off one of the bottom corners).
Pipe the dough directly into the water, using a knife or kitchen shears to cut the paste at 1-inch intervals to form the gnocchi. After the gnocchi rise to the surface, let them cook/poach for 1 to 2 minutes; taste one to make sure they are cooked through. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the lined baking sheet to drain.
At this point, the gnocchi can be sauced or sauteed, or covered and refrigerated for 1 day. Or they can be frozen until firm, then transferred to resealable plastic food storage freezer bags.
Adapted from "Ratio," by Michael Ruhlman (Scribner, 2009).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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