WINTER 2018 – Yes, we all indulged over the holidays. And yes, you likely resolved to eat better, get back into the gym, detox and lose weight. But let’s be honest: It’s winter. In Chicago. This really is no time to trim the fat from your life. Or the comfort food we all cherish and, frankly, need to keep us warm and get us through the frozen tundra Chicago becomes this time of year.
One of the best things you can do for yourself is to make a lunch reservation at Cindy’s. Stat. Why? Because chef de cuisine Keith Potter has a truly decadent and delicious dish, Gnocchi Parisienne, that is exactly what you crave before you know you’re craving it. But get in there quickly because chef might eat them all first.
“I always want to have a vegetarian gnocchi on the lunch menu,” Potter said. “Mostly so I can eat them all day. I love dumplings made with potato, gnudi made with ricotta or Parisienne Gnocchi. They are an elegant way to present something familiar and simple. It’s classic yet the technique must be sound and taught well.”
Unlike traditional gnocchi, Parisienne style doesn’t comprise potatoes. Instead, it’s pâte à choux, a batter, if you will, that is the same filling used to make éclairs, gougeres and profiteroles. It’s light and airy and, frankly, easier to make than the potato-filled Italian version, he said.
To make this Gnocchi Parisienne, Potter pipes the pâte à choux into a pot of gently boiling water. They’re lightly poached before getting drained and cooled then finished with a quick sauté. They get plated with a ring of brown butter roasted delicata squash and local honey-sweetened ricotta. Peppery arugula and shaved pickled garlic get added to cut the richness and the dish then gets topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese and a brown butter crumble crafted from non-fat dry milk solids.
It sounds like a rich, heavy dish, but it’s truly light and beautiful and satisfies that comfort craving we all feel this time of year. Add a lovely glass of Mastroberardino ‘Nova Serra’ Greco di Tufo or Weingut Bernhard ‘Am Berg’ Ott Grüner Veltliner. If you’re not imbibing, pick one of Spirit Guide Nandini Khaund’s non-alcoholic drinks that she makes with various teas, spices, fresh produce and other ingredients that make your mouth smile.