How to make ñoquis


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Historically Uruguay was discovered by the Portuguese but there have also been Spanish and Italian influences with the various streams of immigration over the years. This has influenced much of the food.

Influences from Spain…

Empanadas are a classic example. The Uruguayans have their own version which comes from the Galician immigrants - Empanadas Gallegas which is a pie filled with tuna, onions and bell peppers.

Chorizo is another Spanish speciality and in Uruguay you’ll find Choripan which is grilled chorizo in a baguette.

And from the Italian immigrants

After the Guerra Grande or the Civil War in the late 1800s Uruguay saw an increase in immigrants from Italy and so again a change in the food scene.

Milenesa is beef or chicken that is coated in breadcrumbs and fried and was named after the city of Milan. This has a variation filled with cheese and ham called Milanesa Rellena.

Pizza por metro is literally called ‘pizza by the metre’ and is square vs round and cooked in large clay ovens.

And finally ñoquis which is their name for gnocchi - pasta made with potatoes served with different sauces. In Uruguay they have a brilliant tradition with ñoquis. They eat this dish on the 29th of each month and leave some coins or notes under the plate to bring abundance and prosperity. I think that’s brilliant and I’m going to adopt this tradition because I can always do with a bit of abundance!

There was rather a lot of spinach at my local market this week so I decided I’d make a green version with it.

I served my ñoquis with a drizzle of olive oil and then grated some parmesan over the top. You could toss them in pesto or a tomato sauce. However you choose to serve this, don’t forget to put your notes and coins under the plate!

Peel and chop the potatoes into 2 inch chunks and then boil til soft
While the potatoes are boiling clean the spinach and pop it into a colander
Use the hot water from the boiled potatoes to wilt it, drain off the water and then whizz it into a puree in a food processer
Mash the potatoes and then mix the pureed spinach through
Add the salt and pasta flour til you get a smooth dough. It should all come together with the liquid from the spinach
Sprinkle some flour over a clean work surface, take a ball of the dough and roll it into a long sausage shape about 1.5 – 2cm wide
Now using the long edge of a ruler, chop off 1cm chunks. If you flick the ruler as you cut you will end up with one slightly longer edge to your chunk. It doesn’t really matter though what shape they are. Just try to keep them around 1.5 cm as they will inflate slightly in the water
When all your ñoquis are made, bring a pan of water to the boil and then pop in batches of the ñoquis. They should take approx. 2 minutes to float to the surface and this is how you know they are done so take them out with a slotted spoon into your serving bowl
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