Saturday, February 15, 2014

An Argentine Tradition - Eating Ñoquis On The 29th


Not having much luck (financially) these days? May be because you didn’t eatñoquis (gnocchi) on the 29th last month! Yes, here in Argentina, we have a tradition (or some say, superstition) of eating ñoquis on the 29th of every month for luck. Like many cultural customs here, this tradition stems from the Italian immigrants who came to work and live in Argentina in the 19th century.Ñoquis are little dumplings made from potato and flour, and are traditionally served in tomato sauce. A very easy to make and economical dish. There are generally 2 popular versions to the origin of this custom.
The legend:
Back in the 8th Century, there was a young doctor called Pantaleon who converted to Christianity and traveled across Italy performing miraculous deeds. It was on the day of 29th that he was canonized and became Saint Pantaleon, one of the Patrons of Venice. One famous story went like this: One day along his pilgrimage, he was in need for some food. He came by a farmer’s house and asked them for some food. Even though the farmers themselves were very poor, they still offered him the little bread that they had; and in return, Saint Pantaleon blessed the farmers with great harvest the next year. The following year, the farmers indeed produced a lot of crops and had the most prosperous year they ever had. That’s how the 29th has become the day to eat inexpensively to honor St. Pantaleon.
The more down-to-earth one:
The Italian immigrants were on a meager salary. Since they got paid on the first of every month, by the end of the month, there wasn’t much money left and they could only afford inexpensive meal. So on the day before pay day,ñoquis became the best option because not only they can be made cheaply, but also they are nutritional and very belly-filling.
Nowadays, to add to the ‘effort’, when you eat your ñoquis dish, also put money underneath your plate. After you finish the meal, some say carry that money with you which will bring you luck, or some say you have to donate that money to charity in order to get good fortune. Since this has become such a tradition that on this very day, you’ll see many businesses in Buenos Aires like restaurants, supermarkets and pasta shops offering some type of ñoquis specials.
The next 29th is just around the corner, if you need a kick in the luck department, don’t forget to eat ñoquis!
The recipe Lorena uses to make Gnocchis for our missionaries! 

 Ñoquis for 6 people (Lorena from the Mission Home)

Sauce:                                                                                                      Dough:

2 onions chopped                                                                                6 medium potatoes

2 lbs of ground beef                                                                            1 ½ cups flour

1 carrot, grated                                                                                     salt

1 green or red pepper chopped                                                      1 egg

2 16 oz cans tomato sauce

oregano, basil, parsley

salt to taste

 Dough: Peel, cut up into small pieces, and boil potatoes for 20 minutes. Drain and mash well. Cool to very cool. Then add eggs and mix very well, then add flour and salt mix with your hands until it makes a dough that can be handled easily. Using plenty of flour, roll the dough into snake like rolls that are 1 cm in diameter. Cut in 1 cm lengths and pass each one across a ñoque form pushing with your thumb. Or push past a fork to roll and form with ribs. Dust with flour to keep from sticking together until cooked.  Boil them all in water for about 10 minutes. 

Salsa: Fry the ground beef. The last few minutes of frying add the chopped vegetables and fry until they are transparent. Add the tomato sauce and seasonings to taste. Serve ñoquis on plate with sauce over them.


Ñoquis -Para 6 personas (Lorena de la casa de la misión)

Salsa:                                                                                                       Masa:

2 cebolla                                                                                                 6 papas medianas

1 kg de carne picada                                                                           1 ½ taza de harina

1 zanahoria                                                                                            sal

1 marrón 1 huevo

2 latas de salsa de tomate (aprox. 900grs).

Orégano, perejil, caldos de carne etc.

Sal a gusto                                                                                                         

 Masa: Primero se cocinan las papas con sal cuando ya están blandas, se secan y se hacen puré, se dejan enfriar. Cuando ya están bien frías se pon el huevo y se mezcla bien. Luego le pone la harina y lo mezclamos muy bien con las manos. Cuando la hicimos la masa espolvoreamos la mesa con harina y comenzamos a estirar la masa en corma de bastoncitos luego los bastoncitos los cortamos en pequeños pedazos de 1 cm y los pásanos por un tenedor o la maderita para que se haga el rebujo o sin dibujo (es opcional). Colócanos una olla con agua y sal, 2 cuche radas, y dejamos hervir. Cuando hirvió ponemos los ñoquis en el agua. Los dejamos hasta que vuelva a hervir y los sacamos. 

Salsa: Freír en una olla la cebolla, zanahoria, marrón (picados chiquitos,) luego agregamos la carne que se fría con las verduras y cuando este todo cocinado, ponemos los condimentos, la sal y lo dejamos unos 5 min. y agregamos la salsa o el tomate y lo dejamos 5 min mas y estará listo. Sacamos los ñoquis, ponemos la salsa arriba y lo servimos. 




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