Italian pastas, gnocchi and polentas are the mainstay of many restaurants throughout the country. One famed pasta topping is Caruso Sauce, with a cream-base and mushrooms, onions and ham. It is named after Italian tenor, Enrico Caruso, the operatic superstar who performed on tour at the major houses of South American capitals, including Montevideo’s Teatro Solis and the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires. Some say the celebrity enjoyed the dish, but since he died in 1921 and the recipe only dates back to the 1950s when a Montevideo chef first prepared it, that version of its genesis is a myth. During Uruguay tours is not the only time you may encounter Caruso Sauce. The recipe has been replicated throughout the world, forever associated with the tenor’s travel to Uruguay, and is found on many Uruguayan menus.
Montevideo contains pasta shops where one may buy fresh pasta, homemade sauces and fully prepared Italian meals. The capital’s largest collection of these shops is found in the residential neighborhood of Pocitos.
Dia de Noquis is an Italian dining tradition that falls on the 29th of every month when Uruguayans across the land eat gnocchi, either at home or out on the town. Some restaurants only serve gnocchi on that day and no other. Others just feature it on the 29th of the month. Visitors who travel to Uruguay will find this tradition going strong throughout the country. Some people say the habit originated because workers would run out of cash right before payday at the end of the month. Dinner then consisted of whatever was left in the cupboard. Even if everything else ran out, most every household would still contain the humble ingredients of gnocchi, potatoes and flour.