On the 29th of each month in Argentina it is used to eat ñoquis, or how we call them in Italy gnocchi. This kind of homemade pasta has been brought in the Southern Cone probably by Italian immigrants… do we really need to remark the importance of the Italian influence in Argentina?
Even my great-grandfather lived in Buenos Aires for a while, and it’s actually not really clear why he went there and what exactly he was doing so far away. Everything I know about his Argentinian adventure is written in one of his poetry pieces. I wonder if he ever had ñoquis sometimes…
Eating ñoquis at the end of each month is considered to bring good luck, and above all good money. Indeed, back in the times custom dictates to put a banknote underneath the dish, meaning that if you had enough money and food to keep this tradition it was because you had a good month and still some savings to show.
Nowadays some people put fake banknotes underneath their dishes (at least this is what I’ve heard when I was there) and walking through the crowded streets of La Reina del Plata you will see many restaurants featuring ñoquis in their menu.
Here we’ll explain you how to prepare some good and tasty ñoquis at the Italian way, mixing flour and potatoes in the dough. It’s actually easy and fun to make, even for a homemade pasta-beginner and it could be the starting point of a pasta-maker career.
(For 4 people)
Potatoes 600 gr
Flour 150 gr
Notes about the flour: If you could be able to find the double-milled durum wheat flour it would be much better, because this kind of flour makes the texture much more consistent. However, I know how difficult it could be to find it. A good alternative can be the manitoba flour, or the flour 0 (but please avoid to use the 00 because it will make the dough too soft and instable).
First step. It is quite important to choose some old potatoes, because the texture is drier and this means that you need to use less flour.
First thing you have to do is to boil the potatoes. Easy starting.
The knead process it’s not difficult at all. Everything you need to do is to put all the flour in the centre of a table, making a hole in the middle and add the whole egg, the salt and all the mashed potatoes (little tip: better to add the potatoes when they are still hot, because it will be easier to work the dough).
Mix all the ingredients together and work the dough by hand until it gets smooth. Then cut a piece of dough and roll it on the table to make a sort of sausage-shaped piece. Then cut it into smaller pieces around 1 inch each and pass it over a fork to get a more good-looking shape.
The sauce. The best and more traditional way to eat ñoquis is with tomato sauce. I would recommend you to try them also with some fresh pesto (absolutely delicious!) or with an aubergine cream and cherry tomatoes.