French Gnocchi with Vegetables by cucinagirl
Serves 6 as a a main course.
For the gnocchi:
*In lieu of the fresh herbs, you may use 2 tablespoons of fines herbes, a dried combination of parsley, chives, chervil, and tarragon.
In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to boil with butter, salt and pepper. When the butter has melted, remove saucepan from the heat and immediately add the flour. Beat vigorously (with a wooden spatula) to blend thoroughly. Return saucepan to medium-high heat and continue to beat for about 2 minutes, until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan, forms a mass, and begins to film on the bottom of the pan.
Remove from the heat and stir in the Dijon mustard and herbs. Then add the cheese and stir until the mixture is smooth.
Make a well in the center of the dough. Add one egg and beat for several seconds until most of the egg has been absorbed by the dough. Continue with the remaining eggs, beating each until absorbed.
Transfer dough to a pastry bag fitted with a 5/8-inch plain tip. Don’t fill the pastry bag too full; leave a few inches so that it can be folded/rolled closed. (If the pastry bag is not large enough to accommodate all the dough, cover the remainder with plastic wrap and set aside.)
Set a large pot of water to boil (a 6- to 8-quart pot filled with 4-6 quarts of water) and prepare two sheet pans for the cooked gnocchi by lining each with a double layer of paper towels. Then proceed with the vegetables.
For the vegetables:
Heat 1 tablespoon each butter and olive oil in a 12-inch skillet or sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and a good pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onions begin to turn translucent. Add the mushrooms and another pinch of salt and continue to cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the zucchini and squash, 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, but not mushy. Keep an eye on them as you continue with the gnocchi and be sure to turn off the heat when they are done to avoid over cooking.
When the water has come to a boil, salt generously and proceed with cooking the gnocchi.
(If you have a helper, this step is a little easier with two people, but it can certainly be done solo.) Hold the pastry bag horizontally over the rim of the pot your dominant side (for the sake of simplicity, I’ll refer to the right side). Squeeze the pastry bag gently from the far end with your right hand. With a pair of sharp kitchen shears in your left hand snip off 1-inch lengths of dough. (Don’t lean in too closely and beware of splashing hot water; the higher the water level, the less splash you’ll get.)
Cook about 20 to 30 gnocchi per batch. The gnocchi will sink initially. Once they float to the surface of the water, cook for another 2-3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or skimmer, removed the cooked gnocchi to the paper-towel-lined sheet pans.
Continue in batches with the remaining dough, folding the pastry bag smaller as it empties (and/or refilling it with the extra dough when there’s room).
Return the vegetables to medium heat. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter and 1/2 cup of cream stirring gently until the cream is heated through. Salt to taste.
Add the cooked gnocchi* to the vegetables, tossing gently (the gnocchi are delicate) over medium heat until the mixture is well combined and heat through.
*You may find that you don’t need all the gnocchi. If you have extra, they will keep in the refrigerator for a few days.