Travel Tales of Argentina
Did you know that in Argentina, on the 29th of every month, it’s customary for everyone to eat gnocchi? To top it off, if you place a bill or coin underneath your gnocchi plate while you eat, it’s said to bring you good luck.
This Argentine custom has been a tradition since the first wave of Italian immigrants migrated to the country in 1814. Interestingly, Argentina is home to the largest group of Italian immigrants in the world. So naturally, there are a lot of traditions in Argentina that trace their roots back to Italy; gnocchi eaten at the end of the month being just one of them.
This Italian custom began in the seventh century when a young doctor named Pantaleón used to pilgrimage Italy, curing the sick and assisting the poor. Legend has it that San Pantaleón was traveling about the countryside and sought shelter one evening with a humble family. In exchange for a meager place at their table that evening he promised one year of bountiful farming and fishing.
From then on, the people in Italy, and later in Argentina, have kept this tradition of eating gnocchi on the 29th of every month. So what about the money under the plate? This is one of the more modern traditions in Argentina. Some locals think it arose out of creole tradition, while others believe it was a clever way to attract locals to restaurants. Whether you subscribe to this Argentine tradition or not, the pasta alone should lift your spirits.
So why not take part in this tradition and make some gnocchi on the 29th? I’ve listed below 3 local favorites that I’m particularly fond of preparing for the 29th of every month.
1. Beet gnocchi
1 pound potatoes
½ pound beets
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup of flour
Prep: Start by baking the whole potatoes for about an hour in the oven. When they’re ready and very soft on the inside, peel and place in a large bowl. Next peel the beets and cut into small pieces. Cook with olive oil in a skillet for about ten minutes and then place in a food processor or use a mini-primer to pure. Finally combine the potatoes, beet pure, salt & pepper and ½ a cup of flour. Knead together until the dough has a soft consistency.
Now the fun part: make a long rope with the dough that’s about ½ inch thick. From these doughy lassoes you’re going to splice off the small gnocchi. Use a fork to imprint ridges around each piece of pasta.
After you’ve got your pasta ready, place about a handful at a time in boiling water. The trick to knowing whether gnocchi is cooked is waiting for them to rise to the surface. Once they start to float, remove them from the boiling water.
2. Ricotta gnocchi
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 pound potatoes
Prep: the preparation is basically the same as the beet gnocchi, but you’ll add ricotta instead of the beets.
3. Gnocchi casserole
1 red pepper
1 chicken breast
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup white wine
salt & pepper
Prep: The preparation of the gnocchi is the same, but the casserole is different. First cut the chorizo, garlic, onion and red pepper and cook for ten minutes in a pan. Separately, cut the chicken breast in small pieces and cook until all sides are seared. Place gnocchi, vegetables and chicken pieces in a large casserole and add chicken stock. Top with shredded cheese and cook for about fifteen minutes until slightly crispy on the top. ¡Buen provecho!
To read about other traditions in Argentina or to check out other Argentina food recipes, continue exploring our blog! Or to experience all of these things first hand, contact Say Hueque to start planning your trip to Argentina!
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