Don’t let the length of this recipe deter you — this is a relatively simple approach to gnocchi using basic, readily available ingredients, but it does call for making a pâte à choux.
Pâte à choux is that dough we tackled during last year’s Year of Baking series that adds airiness to profiteroles and cream puffs, but this gnocchi is a great way to turn them into savory bites that aren’t Parmesan cheese puffs.
The recipe author, Bryan Calvert, serves the gnocchi with summer squash and basil in his book, “Brooklyn Rustic: Simple Food for Sophisticated Palates” (Little, Brown and Company, $30), but you could make them with any gently cooked seasonal vegetable.
The goat cheese basil gnocchi in “Brooklyn Rustic” is made with summer squash and lots of basil, but you could make a winter version with greens or cruciferous vegetables. Contributed by Ed Anderson
Goat Cheese Basil Gnocchi
Fine sea salt
1 1/2 sticks (12 Tbsp.) unsalted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
12 oz. goat cheese
5 large eggs
3 Tbsp. finely sliced fresh basil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil, plus more if needed
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
Bring 6 quarts water and 1 teaspoon salt to a simmer in a large pot.
In a medium pot, bring 1 1/2 cups water, the butter and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil. Add the flour, reduce the heat to low, and stir with a wooden spoon for about 2 minutes, until the mixture becomes a smooth dough and doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
Remove the pot of dough from the heat and stir in 8 ounces of the goat cheese. Crack the eggs in one at a time, beating each one into the dough before adding the next. The batter should be sticky. Stir in the finely sliced basil and two turns of black pepper. Transfer one-quarter of the batter to a pastry bag with a #5 tip (7/16-inch), or a gallon-size zipper-lock bag with 1/2-inch cut off one corner.
Hold the bag over the pot of simmering water and squeeze the batter out in 1/2-inch cylinder dumplings, cutting them with a paring knife so they fall into the water. Simmer for 4 minutes. Once all gnocchi have floated to the top, cook for 2 more minutes. Remove the gnocchi from the water with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel–lined baking sheet to remove any excess water.
Repeat with the remaining dough in three more batches. Once cooled, the gnocchi can be used immediately, or refrigerated for up to 2 days.
When ready to cook, heat the vegetable oil in a large nonstick sauté pan over high heat. Working in batches, add as many gnocchi to the pan as will fit in one layer without overcrowding. Brown the gnocchi for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate. Brown the remaining gnocchi, adding another tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pan in between batches, if needed.
Carefully wipe out any remaining vegetable oil from the pan with a paper towel. Heat the olive oil over medium heat. If you’d like to quickly saute some vegetables, such as winter greens or summer squash, do so now. To the hot pan or the just-cooked vegetables, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute without browning. Add 1/4 cup water and the gnocchi. Heat through, scraping the bottom of the pan. Transfer to a warm serving dish and sprinkle the remaining goat cheese on top. Garnish with whole basil leaves, if desired, and a couple of turns of black pepper. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
— Adapted from “Brooklyn Rustic: Simple Food for Sophisticated Palates” by Bryan Calvert (Little, Brown and Company, $30)