May 20, 2008
In February I posted about Argentina’s beloved tradition of eating ñoquis (gnocchi) on the 29th of every month in honor of the feast day of San Pantaleon, one of the patron saints of Venice. Guillermo and I have started hosting ‘ñoqui nights’ at our house-inviting friends to share a meal with us, and rolling out gnocchi together-a sure recipe for a good time! We always follow the tradition of placing money under our plates for good fortune in the month to come.
Maybe the saints heard us! I’ve had the good fortune of finding and meeting so many other bloggers, writers, and all-around lovers of Argentina since then. The website Argentina’s Travel Guide is one example. The concept of their site is a guidebook as a website-a very practical idea, since today’s travelers tote laptops and i-Phones, rather than bulky guidebooks.
The site is a wealth of information about every region in Argentina, with things to do, places to stay, itineraries, and activities. The webpage reads like a newspaper, and along with all the resources, information, and forums they provide, they also run articles about Argentinean culture-from street slang to recipes.
That’s where I come in! Argentina’s Travel Guide has asked me to write a series of articles and recipes for them. They’ll be classic Argentinean recipes that travelers would eat and want to know how to make when they return home.
My first article for them is all about Ñoquis of the 29th Day of the month-why the tradition got started, and of course, how to make the gnocchi to celebrate it! The ñoquis I made for this article have half pesto sauce, half tomato sauce, and shaved Parmesan on top- red, white and green tricolor in honor of the Italian flag. Since I’ve already posted about how to make gnocchi, I’ll share the sauce recipes with you here.
The pesto is simple and delicious-a perfect topping for any pasta , spread for bread or as a pizza sauce. The tomato sauce is the perfect simple sauce-using fresh herbs and whole cloves of garlic-good for just about anything!
Receta para Pesto-Recipe for Pesto Sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt-or more to taste
1 and 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
Put the minced garlic and the salt in a mortar and pestle, and smash the garlic together with the salt until the flavors are incorporated. Chop the basil leaves very fine, and put in a bowl. Add the garlic, olive oil and shredded Parmesan. Mix well until incorporated. Serve as suggested above.
Receta para Salsa de Tomates-Tomato Sauce Recipe
6 whole cloves garlic, skins removed
Olive oil (about 5 Tablespoons)
salt (to taste-less than a teaspoon)
1 teaspoon sugar
huge handful of basil
large can crushed tomatoes
juice from 1/2 a lemon
pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic cloves and cook until slightly golden, but not burnt. The garlic will have infused the oil with its flavor. Add the tomatoes and mix well. Add in salt, sugar, basil, lemon juice and red pepper. Stir until mixed in. Cover, and raise heat to medium high, bringing the sauce to a simmer. Let simmer for about 30 minutes. Serve over pasta or gnocchi with Parmesan on top!