Gnocchi Does Not Like Me

I'm starting to wonder what gnocchi has against me. Remember my ricotta gnocchi? It was a total flop. But I told myself I would try again with potato gnocchi and that I would do better. Well, I guess I accomplished better since the potato version was at least edible, but I won't say I was successful.

I decided to follow Julia Child's recipe for potato gnocchi, thinking it wouldn't be possible to go wrong with Julia's guidance. She hasn't let me down in the past.

Julia's recipe combines potatoes cooked and pushed through a ricer with pâte â choux. Now, I have made pâte â choux before and had no problems with it, so that part was no sweat.

And I had purposely bought a potato ricer just so I could make gnocchi, so I had the right equipment on hand and thought I did a fine job cooking and ricing my potatoes and then mixing them with cheese.

The result was a nice dough that was even thick enough that I could roll portions of it into a long rope and just cut the gnocchi pieces from that -- something Julia neglected to mention would simplify my life.

I formed a good number of gnocchi and placed them on a floured plate. Next I set of pan of lightly salted water on the stove.

Once my water was simmering, I dropped the gnocchi in and proceeded to lightly cook them for 15 to 20 minutes as Julia instructed. Well, suddenly I had a pan of cloudy water filled with bits of gnocchi. All of my beautifully shaped gnocchi had disintegrated.

So now being exhausted and frustrated, I simply shaped the rest of them and put them on a floured sheet pan, wrapped them up, and left them in the fridge overnight. I couldn't bring myself to ruin another batch.

Now here's one of the perks of working at a bakery: My coworkers there have tons of culinary know-how! So when I went to work the next day, I asked what might have gone wrong with my gnocchi and learned that I had probably cooked them too long.

This time I followed my coworker's advice rather than Julia's. I dropped the gnocchi in the simmering water, about 15 pieces at a time. They immediately sunk to the bottom, and I gave them a little stir to keep them from sticking.

Then, when they rose to the surface, I fetched them from the water with a slotted spoon and set them on a clean plate. They didn't burst into little bits this time!

I was so excited. I thought I would finally be able to eat some delicious gnocchi. I set the gnocchi aside to cool and worked on getting the rest of dinner ready -- leftover coq au vin meant to be enjoyed with the gnocchi the night before.

After the gnocchi cooled and I had rewarmed the coq au vin, I sauteed the gnocchi with some butter and salt and pepper. They mostly held their shape but did get a little mushy.

All in all, I was not happy with the final product. They crisped on the outside, which was nice, but the middles were much too soft. I wanted a firm gnocchi, one that could hold up to a chunky bolognese sauce or be served with braised short ribs. These just wouldn't do.

I have the rest of them in the freezer and am thinking I may try baking them with sauce or cheese and seeing if they get a better texture that way.

Since I wasn't too fond of the final outcome, I'm not going to give you the recipe for these, but rather, I'd like to ask you to tell me a gnocchi recipe that has worked for you. As you can see, I need all the help I can get!