American chefs are busy riffing on this Italian classic. Here, F&W's Grace Parisi shares a traditional recipe with three tasty variations: Carrot-Potato Gnocchi, Roasted Garlic-Potato Gnocchi and Rye-Potato Gnocchi.
Potato Gnocchi with Garlic Butter, Mushrooms and Snails
At The Modern in New York City, chef Gabriel Kreuther makes gnocchi using fromage blanc, a fresh French cheese that creates a light texture and lovely tang; sour cream is a fine replacement. Snails add an earthy flavor to the dish (though the recipe is also delicious without them).
These very tasty gnocchi are made with pâte à choux—the same dough used for profiteroles, cream puffs and éclairs—that is poached and then baked. You don't need a light hand to make these, as you do for other forms of gnocchi; in fact, the dough comes together quickly in a saucepan and requires vigorous stirring.
Andrew Carmellini cooks homemade gnocchi in his own intense mushroom stock, then serves them with porcini butter (blended with garlic, herbs and Parmesan) and white-truffle shavings. In the easy way, store-bought gnocchi and chicken stock fill in for the homemade kinds. The topping: Parmesan cheese and truffle oil.
Foie Gras Soup with Lentil Gnocchi and Balsamic Onions
"Earth, color, red things," are the words Pierre Gagnaire uses to describe the Hermès perfume that inspired his dish, Parfums de Terre. This marvelous soup is one of the dish's seven components. Both the foie gras that enriches the broth and the lentil gnocchi are earthy; the lightly pickled onion wedges add brightness and tang, not to mention a hint of color.
For supertender gnocchi, Steve Corry is careful not to overwork the dough. After draining the gnocchi, he sautés them until they're slightly crispy, then tosses them with the lemony sauce. Instead of sprinkling the gnocchi with Parmesan cheese, Corry likes to shave bottarga—dried and salted gray mullet roe—over the top, but they're also delicious without it.
These gnocchi are fun and easy to make. They bring more than just good autumnal looks to the plate--expect a subtly sweet squash flavor with hints of fresh sage, complete with a delightful pillowy texture. No need for eggs here; squash puree and nutritious buckwheat flour partner well together, allowing for just the right soft structure. The gnocchi are gluten-free and can be vegan if ghee is substituted with coconut oil or vegan butter.
On my first visit to Italy, I stopped in Milan for a few nights. On my second night there, one of my family friends piled my friend Clark and me into his Ferrari, and we took off for Bergamo, a town higher up in the hills about a 45-minute drive away. We had to park a distance out of the old town and walk a few blocks, to a restaurant with a dining room overlooking the valley. It was ancient, with huge candles in wall sconces and a menu that reeked of the classics. I tried quail with roasted grapes for the first time, and we ate gnocchi two ways that night: first with Gorgonzola and cream; then with squash (cut to resemble smaller gnocchi), brown butter and sage. We couldn’t fit into the car for the ride home.