Los ñoquis del 29: arugula gnocchi

Gnocchi is one of the many contributions of Italian immigrants to Argentinean cuisine. Gnocchi, which morphed into our ñoquis are, quite simply, a small flour and potato dumpling-like kind of pasta.

Local lore has it that many of those early immigrants found it hard to make ends meet and were hard up towards the end of the month before the next paycheque (or whatever means of payment was used then.) So they scrapped up a meal with only the cheapest of ingredients: water, flour, potatoes.

With the passing of time, eating ñoquis on the 29th of every month became a tradition. The superstitious among us put a peso note under their plate to attract good fortune.

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The participants of the international alfajor challenge are back, this time with the international ñoqui challenge in time for the 29th of this month.

Visit their blogs to see what’s cooking. Who knows, you may be inspired to make a delicious meal!

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I borrowed the following recipe for ñoquis de rúcula (arugula or rocket, depending on which side of the Atlantic you are) from Argentinean chef Pablo Massey.

Ingredients (serves 4)

1 egg

1 egg yolk

60 grams grated Parmesan cheese

A pinch of ground nutmeg

100 grams fresh arugula (spinach works well too)

500 grams ricotta cheese

150 grams all-purpose flour

Salt and pepper to taste

Put the arugula (or spinach) in a bowl and cover with boiling water for about a minute. Drain well (I wring it to remove the liquid. You want it fairly dry), chop it and set aside.

In a bowl, put the ricotta cheese, egg, egg yolk, nutmeg, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and mix well. Add the arugula and mix. Then add the flour, mix and knead into a ball of dough.

Sprinkle some flour on a work surface. Take some dough and roll it with your hands until it looks like a wiener (like you used to do in kindergarten). Cut it into bite-size pieces.

Bring a pot of salt water to the boil. Add the gnocchi. They’ll be ready when they float to the surface (less than 2 minutes)

Then sauté in olive oil until golden.

Sauce (the recipe is my own)

10 roma tomatoes

3 or 4 cloves of garlic

1 tbsp dried sage

Olive oil

1 tbsp sugar

A handful of chopped olives

1 tbsp capers

Peel the tomatoes (make an X shaped incision, cover in boiling water for a minute. The skin comes off easily), chop roughly  and set aside.

Put some olive oil in a saucepan (5 or 6 turns of the pan), heat over medium-low fire. Peel and quarter the garlic cloves and gently caramelize in the oil (about 10 or 15 minutes). Remove the garlic and ad the chopped tomatoes, sugar, salt, pepper, and sage.

Cook on medium-low for about 45 minutes. Mash with a potato masher, add the chopped olives and the capers and finish with a squirt of olive oil.

Serve.

Enjoy.

Don’t forget to put some money under your plate, just in case.

Paula of Bee my Chef: Spinach gnocci

Meag of A Domestic Disturbance: Roasted beet malfatti with creamy Roquefort sauce

Katie of Seashells and Sunflowers: Butternut squash gnocchi with walnut cream sauce

Aledys from From Argentina to the Netherlands for Love: Gnocchi alla Romana on Argentinean Gnocchi Day

Rebecca from From Argentina With Love: Ñoquis del 29; A Family Tradition–Una Tradicion Familiar

Gnocchi