ffwD: Gnocchi a la Parisienne

This dish was a bit disappointing for me. I’m not a huge fan of Italian gnocchi, so making a French version wasn’t too appealing. However, I gave it a shot because the reason for joining French Fridays with Dorie was to try and make new foods!

My major stumble was the béchamel sauce. Mine ended up extremely lumpy and never came to a pourable consistency. Upon further review, I think I didn’t let the butter and flour cook long enough to get smooth. Though the recipe doesn’t say to, I used a whisk instead of a wooden spoon to cook the flour and butter. I’m not sure if that made a difference. Anyway, because the sauce was lumpy, I was unable to “spoon” a thin layer into the pan and had to “spread” a thick layer instead. I even tried to microwave the bechamel to make it more spreadable. This did not work.

I suppose since my béchamel was not right, the dish didn’t come together as planned. Upon tasting the first bite, it was apparent that the wonderful flavors of the sauce failed to soak and meld with the gnocchi during the baking process. When I ate a bowl, I felt like I was eating three separate components (melted Parmesan cheese, lumpy béchamel sauce and flavorless dumplings) instead of one cohesive dish. One highlight of the sauce was that the warmth of the nutmeg really shone through, which I enjoyed.

For some reason, I thought béchamel sauce had cheese incorporated in there, but I must be mistaken. Also, the sauce seemed to require way more babysitting that I care to give a sauce. The gnocchi themselves were easy to make. I just used my measuring teaspoon to scoop out the dough. They puffed up to about one and a half times their original size after a turn in the simmering water. I probably won’t make this recipe again. However, my sister was a little more optimistic and suggested I make this dish next time with meat or pancetta. We’ll see…

By the way, you may notice that I served the gnocchi in new bowls! Here’s another look: This is because my friend (Codename: Radio Diva) took me on a spree of Sur La Table, a store I absolutely adore! It’s so fun just to look around there, and we found several new dishes and place mats that I could use for showing my food on the blog! So, thank you very much, Radio Diva! I’ll be featuring the rest of the serving dishes you bought me on the blog very soon!

Make sure to check out other bloggers’ thoughts on this dish at French Fridays with Dorie. As usual, the recipe for this dish can be found in Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours.


29 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. stephirey
    Jan 13, 2011 @ 21:45:07

    Bummer that yours didn’t turn out too well. I had trouble with the bechamel also, but ended up adding extra milk and finally got it to cooperate. I grated a lot of fresh nutmeg into mine and it really gave it a great flavor! I’ve gotta say I can understand the three separate “tastes” you ran into. Good luck with your trial!! Hopefully you’ll have time to make the Chocolate Mousse cake for next week…it’s super yummy!

  2. stephirey
    Jan 13, 2011 @ 21:45:49

    PS…love your new bowl and place setting. Looking forward to seeing what other treats you bought!!

  3. Betty @ scrambled hen fruit
    Jan 13, 2011 @ 23:00:35

    I’m sitting this week out- this recipe just didn’t look like it would be my cup of tea. 🙂 Love your new bowl!

  4. beth@thescreenporch
    Jan 13, 2011 @ 23:28:18

    Love the new bowl. I can think of some great meals to put in there. A lovely noodle veggie bowl..hmm. I’m sorry yours didn’t go as planned. Good luck on the trial. B:)

  5. ComeUndone
    Jan 13, 2011 @ 23:37:10

    It’s too bad that the sauce didn’t turn out the way it should. But like you said, it’s a learning experience to try things you otherwise wouldn’t cook. Good effort!

  6. Raisa Berriz
    Jan 14, 2011 @ 01:03:37

    I had problems with the bechemel as well. It is way too
    much flour for the proportions of butter and milk. I threw my first
    batch away and made a tried and true bechamel.

  7. Elaine
    Jan 14, 2011 @ 06:14:48

    I didn’t like it straight out of the oven, but I thought having it leftover the next day gave it a chance for all the flavors to meld. I love your bowl!

  8. Liz
    Jan 14, 2011 @ 06:18:54

    My bechamel was a bit of a disaster, too…thank goodness for the cheesy topping. LOVE your new bowls…I may have to take a trip up to Sur la Table 🙂

  9. Anne-Marie
    Jan 14, 2011 @ 07:18:57

    Those bowls are gorgeous! Sorry your recipe didn’t turn out but you were a star to give it a go. Good luck with your trial!

  10. Comfy Cook
    Jan 14, 2011 @ 09:31:39

    Love that bowl and even if you are not thrilled with the gnocchi, look how beautiful it looked in the bowl.

    I didn’t get to make it but I am hoping for next week. I have learned to be realistic about how much I can do and sometimes, I have to admit, I can’t do it.

  11. Trevor Sis Boom
    Jan 14, 2011 @ 09:36:20

    lol… guess who sat this one out too? I just didn’t think I could deal with it to tell you the truth. It just seemed like ingredients in search of a recipe. That, and I was traveling on business. Thank goodness you had new bowls! That is good reason for anything!

  12. Sarah
    Jan 14, 2011 @ 11:27:09

    I made this mostly for m kids. They ate it up, but I agree that it wasn’t the best! I do love the bowls though!!

  13. Jessica of My Baking Heart
    Jan 14, 2011 @ 11:38:33

    Too bad it didn’t turn out the way you expected. My bechamel was thick too – next time I’m adding more milk at the end to smooth it out. Love your new bowls! Too cute!

  14. Cher
    Jan 14, 2011 @ 11:42:00

    Good luck with the trial!
    I think the bechamel was a stumbling block for a lot of us. But you got to use a great new bowl, so it wasn’t a total loss, right?

  15. steph - stephsbitebybite
    Jan 14, 2011 @ 13:07:51

    Sorry that this didn’t turn out so well 😦 But at least you gave it a try. And you got to use your new bowls, which I am in love with!!

  16. curtorimfoodieszone
    Jan 14, 2011 @ 13:41:04

    I am sorry this didn work out for u , i was supposed to make this today but had to postpone it coz we buy local organic eggs and picked them only in the evening!
    Am looking forward and plan to add garlic and some herbs to the dish!
    was also thinkn of Mushrooms and shrimps or anyone but ur sis’s suggestion sounds good too!
    Hope this works , ur post is gng to make it easier for me:-)

  17. Candy Girl
    Jan 14, 2011 @ 14:42:09

    My bechamel was lumpy too but still turned out OK. This was OK for me but not something I will make again. Love the new bowls. I wish I had a Sur la Table near me!

  18. Radiodiva
    Jan 14, 2011 @ 16:26:14

    I’m so glad that both you and your fellow foodie bloggers like the bowls n’ stuff!! But sorry about the sauce. Nevertheless, IT LOOKS YUMMY!! =) May the angels smile on your court case today and everything you do!!

  19. Ker-Yng
    Jan 14, 2011 @ 17:20:43

    My sauce wasn’t pourable too but I still like the end result of the dish. I’m so envious that someone brought you on a spree! 🙂

  20. evilcakelady
    Jan 14, 2011 @ 17:52:57

    bummer about your bechamel, but it seems like we all had problems with it. try again–use more milk or less flour–it is delicious! i’ve also taken my immersion blender and beat the sauce into submission when the lumps won’t go away.

  21. Cakelaw
    Jan 14, 2011 @ 18:46:03

    Love your new bowls- very pretty. Like you, I made this because I felt I needed to make things I might not like to try. And I was surprised by this – I actually like it better than potato gnocchi, which I find to be very heavy.

  22. Becky
    Jan 14, 2011 @ 22:48:55

    Also not really a fan of gnocchi & I wished that the sauce has cheese in it … it was a little blah for me. Mine had problems too. I ended up switching to a whisk and adding more milk. Better luck next time, huh?

  23. Lana
    Jan 14, 2011 @ 23:30:04

    OK, I am going to leave my excuses somewhere else – you are prosecuting a trial, and still have time to make this dish. I hurt my eye and spent three days in Berkeley visiting my daughter and did not have time. Well, next time.
    I always admire the people who try another approach to the dish they are not crazy about. I love gnocchi and I will make this recipe as soon as possible. I think that your sister thinks in the right direction suggesting bacon or pancetta.

  24. Kathy
    Jan 15, 2011 @ 21:19:26

    I ran into problems with the béchamel sauce also. I did have to thin and whisk into shape. I believe the ratio was off when it came to the butter and flour mixture…usually it’s almost equal! Love your bowls!

  25. Mary
    Jan 16, 2011 @ 15:07:49

    I was really disappointed about missing this week’s recipe, but now I don’t feel so bad. Too bad you didn’t enjoy it, but you did get to show us your new bowl–very nice!

  26. cca
    Jan 16, 2011 @ 18:38:54

    sorry it didn’t turn out well! i made italian gnocchi earlier this year and it was a total flop!

  27. betsy
    Jan 16, 2011 @ 19:43:37

    Sorry it didn’t work out as planned. I LOVE your new bowl. I am a huge fan of dragonflies!

  28. Jessica
    Jan 19, 2011 @ 11:41:55

    I’m proud that you were brave enough to try something new! I would have hesitated as well.

  29. Andrew
    Jan 19, 2011 @ 20:41:55

    They don’t look like they turned out too badly. My mom makes Italian gnocchi sometimes, but I can see how they are kind of a strange dish, I’ll have to look into the french version. I like the new bowl, it’s very pretty!

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