Parmesan gnocchiParmesan gnocchi

To celebrate a friend’s finishing a semester of graduate school at Columbia, Uncle Teddy and I decided to have a small dinner party in his art deco palace on Riverside Drive. I planned the menu, pulling recipes again from The Silver Spoon: parmesan gnocchi, and chicken roulades with pancetta and sage.

The parmesan gnocchi sounded so delicious: butter and cheese and flour and eggs mixed well, cut into circles, shaped into “a sort of dome” (this phrasing is the real reason that I chose the recipe), and baked until golden brown. I imagined it being crispy, cheesy, and perfect. Here is what my sort of dome looked like, after spreading it into a half-inch-thick sheet, letting it cool on the counter, and cutting circles in it with a wine glass (aka the gay cookie cutter):

Teddy and I thought, well, it looks a little crazy, especially with that cheesy turd on the roof, but it will definitely be good. So we put it in the oven to bake for thirty minutes.

In the meantime, we prepared the roulades. Step 1, luckily for all of Teddy’s fans and would-be nephews out there, was to pound the chicken breasts into a tractable thinness:

Once that was done, we pressed sage leaves on the meat, rolled them up, and wrapped them in spicy pancetta from Garden of Eden. (This recipe is extremely similar, and possibly inferior, to the prosciutto-wrapped chicken I made this summer.) Twenty minutes on the stove, and those were done.

The gnocchi, meanwhile, had been in the oven for thirty minutes. A quick taste revealed extreme doughiness, so we gave them another thirty minutes. This is how they looked when we decided it was dinnertime:

Irrestible, right? These gnocchi were the blandest, lamest thing I’ve ever cooked. Where did all of that flavor go? They were crispy on the top and bottom, thank god, but utterly insipid within. Oh well. Disastrous recipes are always more fun when you’re making them with friends. We had fun forming our sort of dome, and everyone ate it without wincing. I suggested to Ted that he take the leftovers, form them into patties, and fry them in a bit of butter or oil (a great solution for leftover risotto!).

I’m not giving the gnocchi recipe here, because I’m afraid someone might actually make it. When I find a good one in that crazy book, I’ll let you know.


I saw a version on the food network (big-headed Giada), but she used polenta. While I am not a huge fan of polenta, it might add a bit more flavor to the overall dish.

What a bummer, it sounded so promising! And it even looks good. Ah well. Good to be warned.

Though I bought a copy of the Silver Spoon the week it came out (because that’s the kind of cookbook nerd I am), it hasn’t met with universal praise. The word on the street is that the “translation” resulted in the significant revision of many of the recipes, mostly the removal of a lot of ingredients the editors thought Americans would have a hard time finding, along with some generalized dumbing down. I’m not sure if that’s the problem with the two recipes that you tried, but it certainly seems possible. I haven’t made anything from the book yet, but I hope it’s not all disappointments…

I put them on a cookie sheet and baked for 30 minutes (without the “dome”). I served them with a simple tomato sauce and they were really good. I think doing them on a cookie sheet with some space between them allowed the parmesan to achieve that really caramelized cheesy flavor.

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