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

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19 responses to “Los ñoquis del 29: arugula gnocchi

  1. These gnocci sound delicious! I’ve never made them before, but I think I might have to give it a shot. My admittedly unsophisticated German palate is not very used to olives or capers, but I think these would go well with my regular tomato-basil concoction as well :) One question… I was surprised about the ricotta in the gnocci… does that not melt when you cook it?

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  2. Great job, Ana!!! And you were reluctant to participate in the beginning because you said you’d never made gnocchi from scratch before.
    One question: was the dough difficult to work? In my attempts to make gnocchi with ricotta before, I’ve had to keep adding flour to the dough to make it manageble to knead – it was too sticky because of the cheese.
    I like your tomato sauce with olives and capers… they must have been good!! :)

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    • My first and last homemade gnocchi. I’d rather wait until I go to Buenos Aires and buy them from the fabrica de pastas!
      Yes, it was a bit difficult to work the dough. I decided to sprinkle more flour on the work surface rather than add it to the dough but it wasn’t fun.

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      • I think you should be very proud of yourself, Ana. Your gnocchi look super! I had never made homemade gnocchi before this challenge either (although I’d watched my mother-in-law do it many times). As I talked about in my post, my first attempt didn’t go so well, and I was so annoyed with the whole thing! But practice does make perfect, and they came out great the second time. I think the key is to just forge on, even when the dough is sticky, because otherwise they turn into lead weights.

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        • Thanks! As I said before, I’d rather buy fresh pasta from the casa de pastas (or fideeria, I think they used to be called, not sure). I’m happy I gave it a try, now I know what I can do :)

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      • Well, I’ve been reading the other girls’ recipes and they all say that you have to drain the ricotta before making the dough, so I’m willing to give it a try again! If you don’t like kneading, try making my ñoquis!! :)
        Isn’t it great to have so much choice of diferent kinds of pasta, dry and fresh, back home? Here they didn’t even know filled pasta a few years ago. Now it’s becoming fashionable and they’ve made a shy appearance in the supermarket shelves…

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  3. I’ve never tasted arugula gnocchi before, but I imagine that they must be delicious, especially when paired with your sauce. I bet the ricotta makes them nice and light, too. I’m looking forward to trying these!

    Forgive me, but I couldn’t help but laugh when I read your instructions “roll it with your hands until it looks like a wiener.” I’ve seen the shape described as a rope or a snake but never a wiener. :D

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  4. Pingback: Gnocchi Roundup! | Buenos Aires Foodies·

  5. What a great combination–can’t wait to try it. BTW, won’t be telling my son, the household gnocchi roller, about the weiner thing. We’ll stick to snakes, lol.

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