The 29th of every month is National Gnocchi Day—in Argentina, where it’s spelled ñoqui, but pronounced the same as the Italian word, NYOH-kee).
People all over the country get together on the same day every month, at home or at restaurants—to eat gnocchi.
A nice idea: We just may start it in our own home.
Gnocchi is a pillow pasta, rolled into little pillowy dumplings.
The original Italian dish was made with flour and a potato filling, although the concept expanded to include pumpkin, ricotta, spinach, pumpkin and sweet potato.
Fusion cooks around Buenos Aires even make gnocchi filled with ham and cheese [source].
We’ll take a goat cheese and bacon gnocchi, please. What would you like in yours?
Today’s recipe is all about pumpkin gnocchi.
The planets are in alignment: October is National Pasta Month and National Pumpkin Month.
Add to that the 29th of the month, and eating pumpkin gnocchi must provide the eater with some kind of good fortune (or at least, the calories should disappear).
You can also celebrate with gnocchi soup (photo #2—here’s the recipe).
Before we get to the recipe, here’s how this quirky holiday began.
The story credits the occasion to the Italian immigration to Argentina (their descendants now make up about 50% of Argentina’s population.
This Argentine custom has been a tradition since the first wave of Italian immigrants migrated to the country in 1814 [source].
Since the 29th is almost the end of the month, many families were tight on cash as they waited for their next paycheck, which came on the first of the month.
Potatoes and flour are inexpensive ingredients that enabled the housewife to make a filling (and tasty!) meal.
Some say that the 29th commemorates a patron saint of Venice, San Pantaleon, who was canonized on the 29th, so on each month the 29th is celebrated as his feast day [source].
What About Good Luck?
As people from the “old country” brought their superstitions along with their recipes, a superstition accompanies the gnocchi.
It assures the eater that good luck may be on the horizon.
1. MAKE the dough. Add the the package contents to a small mixing bowl and combine with the water, pumpkin, salt, nutmeg and lemon zest.
2. STIR with a fork until dough begins to form. Knead by hand until the dough no longer sticks.
3. TRANSFER to a lightly floured surface and form into a loaf shape. To prevent sticking, keep the surface and the dough lightly floured at all times.
4. USE a knife to cut dough into 1″ strips. Roll out each strip by hand into long ropes. Cut each rope into 1″ pieces. Optional: To create gnocchi’s signature ridges, press the back of a fork into each piece.
5. COOK the gnocchi. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add gnocchi and cook for 3-5 minutes. The gnocchi are finished once they float to the top.
6. MELT the butter in a saucepan on medium-low heat. Once melted, add the sage leaves and stir.
7. TOSS the finished, drained gnocchi with the butter sage sauce. On medium heat, cook them together for approximately 2 minutes.
Then, for the best taste and texture…
Beyond making the sage butter in this recipe, you can:
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