Treated as a gratin, these rich, round, tender eggy noodles are quite astonishing—simply drowned in cream and sprinkled with grated cheese (or liberally sprinkled with meat or poultry roasting juices and cheese . . .). Served as a garnish, they may also be tossed in butter and seasoned to taste, and a few chopped fines herbes may be added; or they may be tossed with fresh breadcrumbs that have first been cooked gently and tossed often in butter until lightly golden and crisp—more butter added at the moment the noodles are joined to the crumbs. They may, of course, be combined with other ingredients, either as a gratin or sautéed. With the former, it is a good way to stretch truffles, respecting their flavor. Or a bed of mushroom purée may line the gratin dish; or dried morels (soaked, trimmed, rinsed, and butter-stewed) may be mixed with them to the happiest of effects. Or rapidly parboiled little peas . . .
Put 1 cup of flour in a mixing bowl and whisk the other ingredients into it. When smooth, add enough more flour, sprinkling it over the surface a little at a time and whisking it in, to bring the consistency to approximately that of a firm cake batter.
Roll a large square of kitchen parchment paper into a cone, flatten it and seal the length of the loose edge with a strip of Scotch tape, fold the tip to prevent loss of batter as the cone is filled, open the cone out again and place it upright in a tall vase, pitcher, or other article that will hold it still as it is filled (a pastry bag may be used, but, with the paper, the tedious, nasty job of cleaning afterwards is eliminated). Fill the cone with the batter, squeeze the top firmly closed, snip off the tip to leave a tiny hole something less than ¼ inch in diameter and, continuing to squeeze and hold the top part in one hand, squeeze the body of the cone with the other, holding the tip just over the surface of barely simmering salted water (the movement of boiling water would shatter the batter before it has time to set). The container should be the largest—with the largest surface—available; a large American roasting pan serves well. As you squeeze ribbons of batter, relax the pressure regularly to let them separate, forming lengths of from 3 to 5 inches. Move the tip over the surface, being careful not to squeeze batter onto already formed noodles. Cover and leave to poach for half a minute or so—until the water returns to a boil—and drain.
Copyright © 1974 by Richard Olney. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.