I participate in the tradition of eating gnocchi every 29th of the month. It’s a South American tradition that was influenced by Italian immigrants. If you search the Internet for the origin of this tradition, you will find various versions. Here’s a brief explanation I found in an article from The Washington Post:
The custom of eating gnocchi on the 29th is said to spring from a celebration of simple food and meager means: It’s the end of the month, the money has run out, and all that is left in the pantry is some potatoes, some flour and, if you’re lucky, an egg or two. What else to make but gnocchi?
While usually lumped together with pasta, gnocchi are really little dumplings, often made from potato, but they’re also seen in semolina, ricotta and other versions. The 29th celebrates all these incarnations, although the standard-bearer is the ñoqui de papa, or potato gnocchi.
On this day, restaurants offer gnocchi specials, and lines form at the city’s abundant fresh pasta shops. Tradition dictates that you eat the gnocchi with money under your plate to ensure good luck and prosperity.
Last Friday was Gnocchi Day and I wanted a quick and delicious sauce to go with the fresh gnocchi I would be buying at Whole Foods after work. I would love to make gnocchi from scratch someday, but this time I would have to settle for store-bought. I had recently read Jessica Seinfeld’s Do It Delicious recipe for Ricotta Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter and was inspired. The original recipe involves making raviolis – which I fully intend to do some day – but this time I would just make the sauce.
SAUCE INGREDIENTS (I made half the recipe, my version below)
- 12 fresh sage leaves
- 3 tbsp of unsalted butter
- kosher salt (to taste)
- Pick the sage leaves from their stems.
- Set a large skillet on the stove and turn the heat on to medium.
- Add the butter. Once it melts, add the sage leaves (be careful of splattering).
- Return to heat and swirl the skillet while the butter turns a light golden brown and smells nutty and delicious, about 5 minutes. Add a dash of salt (to taste).
- Remove from heat, start cooking gnocchi.
- Once pasta is almost ready, reheat the sauce for about 15 seconds (beware – the butter can burn quickly!).
- Pour the sauce over the gnocchi. Hold the hunk of Parmesan right over the gnocchi and use a vegetable peeler to shave off strips of Parmesan.
This sauce was just what I was looking for. Since the gnocchi cooks very fast, the entire meal was ready in under 15 minutes. I had some leftovers and I’m happy to report that it still tasted delicious days later.