Gnocchis, or in Spanish “Ñoquis”, are a delicious Italian dumpling-like pasta dish. Fact: they are considered a pasta dish as they are Italian, but in Italy they are actually considered an alternative to pasta! I’m sure you’ve tried them, but if you haven’t; you’ve really been missing out. Luckily in Argentina you can still find traditional pasta places that make fresh Ñoquis for you on the spot especially when it is Ñoqui Day!
Ñoquis can be made from various ingredients: Potatoes, semolina, egg, cheese and even pumpkin!
Argentina has a large number of Italian immigrants and here, just as in Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, there is a wonderful tradition on the 29th of each month, Ñoqui Day! Some people even believe putting money beneath their plates brings prosperity.
Nobody really knows where the tradition started, but everyone has their own theory. These range from legends dating back to the 8th century involving a miracle, to the simple theory that as the 29th is at the end of each month, families had fewer resources at this point and had to wait to get paid. As potato and flour are both inexpensive ingredients it became a “family tradition” to eat them every 29th or now as we call it “Ñoqui Day.”
When you come abroad to Argentina, if you chose to do a Homestay in an Argentine house or shared apartment, the host may, or may not, be as traditional as to serve ñoquis on the 29th. But they will most likely cook them for you at some point in your stay. If not, why not recommend it?
Here’s a quick and simple video showing how to make Ñoquis. Remember: they only need to be brought to the boil for a minute or so. When they rise to the top it’s time to take them off!
However, if you don’t feel up to making your own Ñoquis tonight head down to Il Matterello (Martin Rodriquez 517) in the neighbourhood of La Boca, close to Caminito. Here they only serve ñoqui on the 29th! It’s definitely worth the trip as they are known for great pasta.
For other recommendations on where to get some good (cheap) Italian food check out our blog post on Great Italian Food in Buenos Aires!
To get your own Ñoqui tradition started!
Written by Rachel Hine