This recipe is a riff on a French riff on the fluffy, soft potato gnocchi you see all over Italy (except in Rome, where they make it with semolina flour for some reason). Gnocchi parisienne is made with pâte à choux, the same kind of pastry dough used to make éclairs, gougères, beignets, etc. An instant-ramen éclair would probably be gross, but it would work, I think. The idea is that you’re substituting the modified, processed wheat in instant-ramen noodles for the raw flour in traditional pâte à choux. It works, and it works well.
Side by side with traditional gnocchi parisienne, you can certainly tell the difference. This one has a different consistency—something in the magical properties of ramen dough make it a little bit more stable and a little bit more heat-resistant than traditional pâte à choux. After you pan-roast these in butter, you’d be hard-pressed to say which one was better, though.
- 2 C milk
- 2 packages instant ramen, seasoning packets reserved for another use
- 4 egg yolks
- 3 T unsalted butter
- + lemon juice
- 2 T chopped parsley
- 1 T picked tarragon
- 1 T chives, sliced thin
- 2 T grated parmesan
Make the pâte à choux: Bring the milk to a boil in a small saucepan and remove from heat immediately. Add the ramen noodles, and let them steep and soften in the milk for about one minute. The noodles should still be pretty firm.
Strain the noodles, reserving the milk. Combine the noodles and 1 cup of reserved milk in a blender, purée for half a minute, then add the egg yolks and process until the mixture is smooth, homogenous, and has a consistency like loose toothpaste. (If for some inexplicable reason the mixture is dry, add more milk a tablespoon at a time to loosen it. This shouldn’t happen.)
Transfer the batter to a pastry bag with a half-inch-wide tip. Or use a sturdy plastic bag with a half-inch triangle snipped off of one of the bottom corners. Put it in the fridge to chill for the amount of time it takes to bring a large pot of water to a steady boil. Lightly grease (olive oil, butter, or spray fat are fine) a plate or tray and set it aside.
Cook the gnocchi: Working in batches, pipe the dough out directly into the water, using a butter knife or small spatula to cut one-inch logs as dough comes out of the bag. After about a minute, the gnocchi will rise to the surface of the pot. Scoop them up with a slotted spoon and transfer them to the greased tray. At this point, you can cool the gnocchi and store them, wrapped in plastic, as long as overnight in the refrigerator.
Heat two tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat in a wide sauté pan. When the butter foam subsides, add the gnocchi and cook them, stirring occasionally, until they’re golden brown and delicious looking, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter to the pan; once it melts, remove the pan from the heat. Add the lemon juice, toss well, and divide the gnocchi between two pasta bowls. Garnish each with half the herbs and half the parmesan and serve at once.