Gnocchi: A South American pasta tradition

Gnocchi: A South American pasta tradition

Pasta and our Gnocchi tradition

In our family everybody loves pasta, especially Gnocchi! Pasta! Gnocchi! You might ask, doesn’t sound very South American. In fact because of Italian migrants in South America pasta is a big part of peoples diet.

In Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, eating gnocchi is a popular tradition on the 29th of every month. This tradition we have been following all our lives but we don’t know why.  We do know for certain that Gnocchi was a recipe brought to South America by Italian migrants during the great Italian emigration of 1876-1926. It was one of the largest modern emigrations any country has seen. An estimated 8.9 million Italians settled in countries like Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay as well as Venezuela and Peru. Hence the great influence of Italian cuisine in South America.


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Recipe type: Pasta
Cuisine: Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay
Serves: 4
  • 1 kg of white potatoes ( you could use red ones)
  • 1 egg ( if you double the recipe use extra yolks)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups of plain flour(a bit more for surface)
  • SAUCE.
  • 1 can of crushed tomato(800 grm)
  • 2 brown onions
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 4-5 sprigs of flat Italian parsley
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste,
  • Pepper , salt, oregano to taste
  • Cubes of red meat
  1. Peel potatoes and cut into 3cm cubes boil the on salty water.
  2. Drain and transfer to a bowl and
  3. Mash until smooth, finish with a fork to remove any lumps.
  4. Set aside to cool.
  5. Add the egg, oil, sprinkle pepper and salt to taste to pure .
  6. Gather dough into a ball.
  7. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently until smooth
  8. Divide dough into portions and roll each into a log about 2.5 cm thick cut into 3cm pieces .
  9. To shape the gnocchi roll a piece of dough down the inside of the tines of a fork using your thumb which will create an indentation on the other side.
  10. Bring a large wide saucepan of water to the boil.
  11. Cook gnocchi in 2-3 batches, until they rise to the surface about 3 min
  12. Drain and mix with tomato sauce, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese
  13. To make sauce
  14. Fry the onion, garlic, parsley then add the meat until brown.
  15. Add the tomato and tomato paste
  16. Add 1 can of boiling water ( use the empty can)
  17. Salt and herbs and simmer for 30 min


Hope you enjoy it as much as we do, comment below and why not start a new family tradition.

Galletas Malteadas- savoury biscuits

Galletas Malteadas- savoury biscuits

Savoury biscuits are very popular in South America and can be readily bought in supermarkets or corner stores. This recipe is for home made Galletas Malteadas which originate from Uruguay. They are a bit of a vice, you eat one, you eat two you just cant stop. South American kids love these with a bit of jam or just plain.

You would describe them as a dry savoury biscuits very popular in Uruguay with diabetics due to the fact they contain no sugar. Argentina has a slightly different variation of the recipe for Galletas Malteadas called Galletas Marineras using butter and eggs not lard and yeast. They are a great companion to a great coffee or with your afternoon mate!!


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Galletas Malteadas
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Galletas Malteadas are a savoury biscuit very popular in Uruguay for people to eat with coffee or mate.
Recipe type: Savoury biscuits
Cuisine: Uruguay
Serves: 3 dozen
  • ½ a kg plain flour
  • 1 sachet of yeast
  • Salt to taste
  • 175 grams of lard
  • ½ litre of warm water(approx.)
  1. Mix all dry ingredients and work the lard to bread crumbs texture.
  2. Make a hole in the centre and start pouring the warm water to make consistent dough.
  3. Knit dough thoroughly.
  4. Let the dough rise in a warm spot (1/2 Hr) then roll into a rectangle fold in half. Repeat twice
  5. Roll the dough very thin cut with round shape cutter and prick with a fork.
  6. Let them rise on a cooking tray for 10 min
  7. Place in oven for 15 min or until golden at a temperature of 220


Hope you enjoy cooking and eating them. Leave a comment below to let us know what you think


Pascualina – Spinach and egg pie

Pascualina – Spinach and egg pie

Pascualina is a pie with a top and a bottom layer of puff pastry covering in the middle a filling of spinach and egg. It originated in Italy but has been very popular in Argentina and Uruguay since the late 1930’s. I have forgotten how many times we have cooked this recipe, it’s so delicious and a great way to get your kids to eat spinach.

While doing some research we found a variation on what we always thought was the traditional recipe using spinach and ricotta cheese.Spinach and egg pie

Pascualina - Spinach and egg pie
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Pascualina is a traditional spinach and egg pie
Recipe type: Savoury pie
Cuisine: Argentina/Uruguay
Serves: 10
  • Pastry ingredients
  • 20 Tbsp. raising flour
  • ½ tsp of salt
  • 3 Tbsp. of olive oil
  • ¾ cup of warm milk
  • Filling Ingredients
  • 500 gram of frozen spinach thawed
  • 1 brown onion finely cut
  • ½ teaspoon of oregano
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 table spoon of Parmesan cheese
  • 5 eggs
  1. Making the pastry
  2. Place flour in a bowl together with salt, olive oil and warm milk.
  3. Bring mixture together to form a ball.
  4. Place dough on to a lightly floured surface and knead 4-5 minutes or until smooth.
  5. Divide into two pieces and roll into two circles to fit a 30 cm tray. This will make the top and bottom of the Pascualina. Now we go make the filling.
  6. Making the filling
  7. Sauté the onion in a fry pan until transparent, then add the spinach (well drained). Mix in well with the onions and cook for 5 min. Add salt, oregano, pepper, cheese and 1 beaten egg and mix in well. Allow to rest for 5 min.
  8. Putting the Pascualina together
  9. Place one of the pastry circles onto a 30cm tray (lightly spray with oil) and spread the filling.
  10. With a soup spoon make four indents in the filling and place a whole egg in each in each indent. Season with salt and lay the second pastry circle over the top.
  11. Trim edges and secure pastry together by pressing down edges firmly using a fork.
  12. Pierce the top of the pie and bake for 25-30 min or until golden brown.


Hope you enjoy cooking and eating this traditional South American recipe!!

Faina with Chorizo, Blue Cheese and Spinach

Faina with Chorizo, Blue Cheese and Spinach

A traditional foodstuff of Argentina and Uruguay is Faina – a flatbread with notes of pepper made from chickpea flour. It’s related to the Italian flatbread Faranita.

A great gluten-free option for cheese boards, fainá can also be served with toppings, though is traditionally served as an accompaniment to mozzarella pizza(muzza). It is typical to have a slice of muzza, with a slice of faina on top, and this is called pizza a caballo (pizza on horseback). It brings back memories of being teenagers in Uruguay and going to our local Pizza Bar to have some pizza a caballo.

Special ingredients

The only special ingredient that you might not see at your local supermarket is the Chickpea or garbanzo bean flour. Chickpea flour or besan is made from the ground pulse. Popular in Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi cuisine, the gluten-free ingredient is a delicious alternative to plain flour. Use besan as a batter, a tasty thickener in soups, or a binding agent for fritters and meatballs. It can be found at most health food stores.


Faina with Chorizo, Blue Cheese and Spinach
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Fainá is a nutty, peppery flatbread made with garbanzo bean (chickpea) flour.
Recipe type: Flatbread
Cuisine: South American
Serves: 8 to 10
  • 2½ cups garbanzo bean flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 7 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 small chorizo sausages, or 1 large
  • 1 cup shredded fresh spinach leaves
  • 4-6 ounces crumbled blue cheese
  1. Whisk the garbanzo bean flour together with the salt, 3 tablespoons olive oil, parmesan cheese, and a generous amount of ground black pepper.
  2. Whisk in 1¾ cups of water until well mixed. Set aside for about a half hour, to let the flour absorb some of the water.
  3. Remove the casings from the sausages and roughly chop the sausage. Cook the sausage in a skillet until well browned, adding a tablespoon or so of vegetable or olive oil if they are sticking. Remove sausages to a plate lined with paper towels to cool.
  4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. When it is hot, place the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a 12 inch pizza pan, and heat in the oven until very hot.
  5. Stir more water into the batter if necessary, until the batter is just thin enough to pour. Carefully remove hot pizza pan from oven, and pour batter into the pan. It should make a thin (about ¼ inch) layer. Place in the oven and bake until fainá is just golden and crispy (about 8-10 minutes). Remove from oven and top with sausage, spinach and crumbled blue cheese. Return to oven for a few minutes longer, until the blue cheese starts to melt and the spinach is just wilting.


Go ahead have a go at making it and comment below to tell us your thoughts

Chau abuelas Silvia and Graciela

Budin de Pan- Uruguayan bread Pudding

Budin de Pan- Uruguayan bread Pudding

Budin de Pan or Bread Pudding its English name is our favourite dessert to make. Many countries have different versions of this dessert but specially throughout Spanish speaking countries like in the Caribbean Islands which make Pudin de Pan or Capirotada(Mexican Bread Pudding).

We learnt from our mum who was taught by her mum to make it the way it’s done in Uruguay, were it was known as the poor people’s dessert because it was usually made with stale bread. Our mum made it often when we were kids, not that our bread ever made it to stale in a house with six kids. I think it was more that it was an affordable and easy dessert to make. But when done well it’s a great looking and delicious dessert.

Fluted Mould

The only thing you might need to buy is a fluted mould. We used to use an Aluminium fluted mould but then we found this silicone mould which works just as well. If you can’t find one at a local retailer click on the highlighted fluted mould word to buy it online.

Budin de Pan- Uruguayan bread Pudding
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Budin de Pan is delicious South American dessert made from bread and milk
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: South American
Serves: 10
  • Bread crumbs from French stick (remove the crust) or sliced bread (3/4 of a pack)
  • 1 litre of milk
  • 4 eggs beat well
  • ¾ cup of sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla essence
  • 1 tsp of lemon zest
  • 1 cup of sugar to make syrup
  • ⅓ of cup water
  1. How to make the Caramel Syrup
  2. Put water, sugar in a medium pan and then stir over a low heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring slowly to the boil and reduce to a simmer.
  3. Simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Use some of the syrup to coat the fluted mould (see photo) the rest to be used to pour over the Budin once its cooked.
  4. Making the Budin
  5. Soak the bread in the milk and work together with your hands (leave to rest for 1 hr).
  6. Add sugar, eggs, vanilla essence and the grated lemon.
  7. Pour the bread mixture into the caramelised fluted mould and put in a container with hot water. Place in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius Bay Marie style for 1 hour.
  8. Check if it’s cooked by inserting a flat knife into the Budin. If the knife comes out clean then its ready.
  9. Once cooked take the Budin out of the oven and allow to cool. Do not try take it out before it has cooled as it will crumble.
  10. Once cooled take out of mould and place on a wide serving dish then pour the extra syrup over the top.


Hope you enjoy it as much as we do, comment below and have a go at making it.

Chau abuelas Silvia and Graciela

Alfajores -sweet caramel and coconut biscuits

Alfajores -sweet caramel and coconut biscuits

Alfajores are one of South Americas favourite treats and one of our favourite sweets to make. They come in many sizes and flavours although we prefer them with Dulce de Leche(caramel).

Each region of South America has its own version but they are mostly popular in Argentina, Uruguay and Southern Brazil. We like Alfajores best when they are freshly made, so that the crisp cookies contrast the soft filling, but many people prefer to wait a couple of days for the cookies to soften, so that the cookie and the filling have the same texture. Waiting makes them melt in your mouth as you bite into them.

Making Alfajores brings back memories of when we were kids hoping mum would make some for our birthdays or just as a treat. It’s a fairly simple recipe made simpler by the fact you can buy ready to eat Dulce de Leche(caramel) in a can, back when we were young mum had to make it from scratch. If you are really ambitious or just to make the Alfajores extra special make your own Dulce de Leche. The full recipe and instructions are below.

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Alfajores are two cookies joined together by caramel and rolled in desiccated coconut
Recipe type: Sweets
Cuisine: South American
Serves: 25
  • 3 cups of self raising flour
  • 2 cups of corn flour
  • 2 cups of white sugar
  • 5 whole eggs 700 grms
  • 6 to 8 table spoons of melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 1 can of caramel
  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees C
  2. Beat the eggs with the sugar, butter, and vanilla then add the sifted flour and sifted cornflour.
  3. Knead into a dough on a floured surface then roll out using a rolling pin to ½ cm high.
  4. Cut into circles using a 5cm cutter or a small glass.
  5. Place in greased and lined oven trays bake for 12-15 minutes on 160 degrees C.
  6. Take out of the oven and allow cooling.
  7. Spread caramel on one of the circles and sandwich two pieces together. Roll edges on desiccated coconut.

Hope you enjoy cooking and eating them. Leave a comment below or post a photo on our facebook page(Taste South America) to let us know how you go. Ciao abuelas Silvia and Graciela

Hello world Taste South America!

Hello everybody and welcome to our first post on our food blog Taste South America. We are Silvia and Graciela two abuelas(grandmas) from Uruguay South America, currently living in Adelaide, Australia. We hope to share our love of South American food through our recipes that we have been cooking for many years.

Silvia and Graciela

 Why Taste South America?

We decided to start our food blog at the encouragement of our family and friends. They have been eating our food for years so they are a bit bia but  all agree that South American cuisine is great.  We are both in our 60’s enjoying our reteriment years but with still a lot to give.  As we both have a passion for cooking, we decided why not share it with others. Neither of us are computer savvy, so we have struggled to get this blog started, but finally its here. Thanks to Silvia’s son for his help

alfajores taste south america

Taste South America allows to share some well know and some not well known recipes that we have learnt from many years of cooking South American food. Some of these recipes have been passed down through many generations. Our mum is our biggest influence and she is still cooking strong at the age of 88.

What do we want to achieve

Initially our thoughts were to be able to share recipes with other food nuts. But as we began to look at other food blogs our ideas began to change. We now want to develop a community of fellow lovers of South American food. To achieve this we hope to have lots interaction from readers of our blog.

So any time you drop in to see us feel free to comment and share with us what you think. Let us know if you have tried one of our recipes and what results you had. We would love to hear from you.

Chau abuelas

Silvia and Graciela