Pizzoccheri Valtellinesi (Buckwheat pasta with potatoes, chard and cheese) recipe
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This buckwheat pasta dish originated in the Valtellina valley in the Lombardy region of Italy. If you cannot get your hands on Casera or Bitto cheese, you can use Fontina, Montasio, Raclette or Gouda.
2 people made this
- 200g chard leaves, sliced
- 200g white potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 200g pizzoccheri pasta
- 50g butter, cubed
- 200g Valtellina Casera cheese, sliced into cubes
- 100g Bitto cheese, sliced into cubes
MethodPrep:10min ›Cook:40min ›Ready in:50min
- Fill a large pot with water; add salt and bring to the boil. Add sliced chard, cubed potatoes and pizzoccheri pasta. Cook for 12 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 200 C / Gas 6.
- Drain pasta and vegetables; transfer into a baking dish. Mix in the cubes of butter and cheese.
- Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and serve.
You can replace the chard with spinach or Savoy cabbage, or use a mix of greens.
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What is Pizzoccheri? ( Traditional Italian Buckwheat Pasta Recipe)
The world of Italian pasta has its superstars (e.g., spaghetti, linguine, etc.), but there are several other intriguing pastas that remain somewhat under the radar, and pizzoccheri would definitely fall into this category.
Contrary to its somewhat misleading name, pizzoccheri doesn’t have anything to do with pizza instead, it’s a flat, ribbon pasta comprised primarily of buckwheat flour, and is typically used as the main ingredient in a hearty winter pasta dish of the same name.
With robust ingredients such as butter, potatoes, cheese, and savoy cabbage, the dish pizzoccheri alla Valtellina (which is universally known as the pizzoccheri dish of choice!) is known for being rich, tasty and very filling, and as such it’s the perfect culinary choice to help keep you warm and satiated on a cold winter’s day.
Buckwheat pasta, potatoes and Swiss chard (pizzoccheri)
- Serves: 5 People
- Prepare Time: 10min
- Cooking Time: 40min
- Calories: -
- Difficulty: Easy
A filling baked dish from northern Italy - ribbons of buckwheat pasta and potatoes with cheese and Swiss chard. This is proper comfort food, a prime example of l'arte di arrangiarsi – the art of making the best of what you have.
List of Ingredients
- 10.5 oz. LB. of potatoes
- 14 OZ. of Savoy cabbage
- 3 1/3 C. of buckwheat flour
- 2 1/2 STICKS of butter
- 7 OZ. of Casera cheese (or Fontina)
- 3/4 C. of Italian 00 flour, plus a bit more
- 6 of cloves garlic
- Grated Grana Padano cheese
Fresh pasta, potatoes, cheese and Savoy cabbage: here’s how to make traditional Pizzoccheri della Valtellina Prepare the vegetables: peel the potatoes and cut them into semi-circles trim and core the cabbage, split the leaves in half and remove the ribs, then cut into 1 inch wide strips.
Sift the Italian 00 flour and the buckwheat flour into a bowl add 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of water, a pinch of salt, and start to knead. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and knead briefly with your hands until smooth and compact.
Add 6 quarts of water to a large pot, add salt and, once boiling, add the cabbage cook for 8 minutes, then add the potatoes bring it back a boil and cook for another 8 minutes. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a 3/4 inch thick sheet cut into 4 inch wide strips, then cut each strip diagonally into pieces 1/2 inch wide.
Peel the garlic cloves, cut them in half, and sauté them in the butter until they barely turn golden. Then remove them from the butter. Cut the Casera cheese into cubes. Drop the pizzoccheri into the water with the cabbage and potatoes and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the pizzoccheri, potatoes, and cabbage from the water with a skimmer and transfer them to a plate. Top with the cubes of cheese, butter, and plenty of grated Grana Padano in layers. Mix and serve immediately.
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Pizzoccheri Valtellinesi (Buckwheat Pasta with Potatoes, Cabbage & Fontina)
This traditional Northern-Italian dish&mdashstarring hearty buckwheat pizzoccheri pasta, potatoes, cabbage and fontina&mdashis winter-comfort classic: indulgent, stick-to-your-ribs and cheesy (plus, it's easy to make and comes together in under 30 minutes). The pasta and vegetables are cooked in the same pot and then layered with nutty Fontina val d'Aosta cheese and drizzled with garlicky browned butter. What could be more comforting than that?
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- 2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 8.8-ounce package Buckwheat Pizzoccheri Pasta from Rustichella d’Abruzzo
- 4 cups savoy cabbage, shredded into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 cups Fontina Val d’Aosta cheese, grated
- Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for garnishing
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.
Add the cubed potatoes and cook for 2 minutes, then add the buckwheat pizzoccheri pasta and shredded cabbage, reducing the heat to medium high (you don&rsquot want the pasta to break apart). Cook until the pasta is al dente, about 10&ndash12 minutes.
When the pasta and vegetables have 5 minutes left to cook, make the browned butter. In a medium skillet or saucepan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the garlic to the melted butter, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the butter begins to brown and the garlic is lightly golden, about 3&ndash5 minutes. Turn the heat down to low and keep warm.
Drain the pasta and vegetables. To assemble, spoon an even layer of the pasta and vegetables into a warmed serving dish. Top with an even layer of Fontina Val d&rsquoAosta cheese. Repeat with the remaining pasta and fontina cheese ending with the cheese. Spoon the reserved browned butter and garlic over the top of the dish. Garnish with a sprinkling of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, and serve immediately.
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Pizzoccheri Valtellinesi (Buckwheat pasta with potatoes, chard and cheese) recipe - Recipes
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I'm all about that apres-ski life. Fondue, cozy cocktails and wool blankets sound like my idea of a good time, so you can imagine why I went to St. Moritz in the Swiss Alps without even knowing how to ski. While I thought I could squeeze by the group and skip the slopes, they pushed me to join in the snowy fun and learn. Yes, European children laughed at me when I wiped out, but it was all worth it because I was introduced to the magic of Pizzoccheri, a cheesy buckwheat pasta with potato and Swiss chard.
This dish is as comforting as they come: tender buckwheat noodles and chunks of potato are completely coated in a velvety cheese sauce with some toothsome chard (because vegetables!). It doesn&rsquot only warm your entire body and soul, but is the perfect hearty meal to fuel yourself up for getting back on your skis for a few more runs of the bunny slope.
As for the recipe itself, it&rsquos actually incredibly easy with the proper attention to making fresh pasta. First, make sure your dough is tacky and smoothy, without being sticky or crumbly. Proper hydration is key! Next, let it rest. An hour at room temperature is important to let the gluten relax for a smooth and thin pasta dough. Finally, go crazy with the flour after you slice it to prevent the noodles from sticking. The rest of this pizzoccheri comes together in no time!
While this is my interpretation of the dish, I will say this recipe gives me the same cozy apres-ski vibes I crave even when I&rsquom stuck in my NYC apartment. There&rsquos snow better way to carbo-load for winter!
The buckwheat noodles
Tajarid (how they're called in the local dialect) is the noodles that are part of the Pizzoccheri dish. An eggless fresh pasta, made with a combination of buckwheat and white flour (4 parts of buckwheat and 1 part of white flour), and water. They are an IGP Italian product, meaning that their quality and other characteristics are linked to their geographical origin. Their full name is in fact 'Pizzocccheri della Valtellina' because that is the area of origin, a mountainous region that is known for its plethora of buckwheat fields. In fact, buckwheat is a staple of the local cuisine.
Making the homemade pasta
- Mix the flours and add to a large bowl, make a well in the center and add the water. Slowly incorporate the water into the flour, mixing with a fork or your hands until a dough starts to come together. After, transfer the dough onto a lightly floured wood board and knead until you get an elastic and smooth dough, adding flour if sticking, or drops of water if too dry.
Rolling and cutting
- Divide the dough into pieces. Then, with a rolling pin, roll out each piece of dough to a rectangle about 2-3 mm thick and cut into strips of about 7-8 cm. Overlap 2 strips at a time and cut them lengthwise, obtaining about 5mm-wide noodles. Sprinkle them with a little flour and place on a floured baking sheet. Repeat until all dough is finished.
Normally, egg pasta dough is rolled quite thin, these buckwheat noodles, on the contrary, must be a little thicker, about 3 mm the lack of gluten in the buckwheat flour means that if they are too thin, they will easily break up.
Co-stars to the buckwheat noodles
In essence, this dish requires a great accompaniment to the noodles that is composed of:
- Savoy cabbage
- Parmigiano or Grana Padano
- Fontina cheese (traditionally a local cheese is used, called Casera)
- butter, garlic, and sage leaves
One pot cooks it all
- Cook the diced potatoes in salted water for 5 minutes. Then, add the Savoy cabbage and cook for 3 minutes. Next, add the noodles to the same pot and cook for about 10 more minutes. In the meantime, have ready a pan with butter, garlic, and sage leaves. The sage leaves are not in the traditional recipe, although they add a great flavor.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and place an oven-safe dish in the oven to warm it up. Then, when the noodles are cooked, drain them well with a skimmer together with the vegetables.
- Place a layer of the mixed noodles/vegetables in the warm dish, add some of the diced cheese and grated Parmigiano. Repeat layering until you finish all the ingredients.
- Next, place the dish in the oven and bake for a few minutes just until the cheese melts and creates a lovely crispy top.
- In the meantime, heat up the butter with the garlic and sage leaves on medium/high until it gets golden brown. Remove the garlic.
- Finally, take the dish out of the oven and pour the brown butter over the Pizzoccheri.
Brown butter, hazelnut butter, beurre noisette
A very important ingredient in the dish is brown butter (or beurre noisette, hazelnut butter) which is nothing more than butter, cooked in a pan until it turns golden brown and results in a delightful (hazel)nutty flavor. Specifically, the copious amount of brown butter used for this dish is flavored with garlic and sage and it is poured over the final dish. TIP: It is best to use a European-style butter with higher fat content.
After a gentle toss, we are ready to serve this Pizzoccheri.
In detail, pizzoccheri is the name of the finished dish, but even in Italy, many tend to use the word pizzoccheri for both the finished dish and the pasta itself.
Italian comfort food at its best!
When we say Italian comfort food we mostly think of Pasta al Forno, Lasagna, etc. But I bet you never would have thought of this Buckwheat Pasta with Cabbage and Potatoes (Pizzoccheri). Your first bite in is going to reveal the wonderful texture of the pasta that has a beautiful nuttiness to it.
The supporting ingredients come to really highlight this pasta with the cabbage offering that sweet earthy smoothness and the potatoes the luxury of fluffiness and starch. More so the brown butter sauce with the garlic and sage is the icing on the cake that brings everything together in such a rich and balanced affair! Even the next day warmed up in a pan gave us an end result of incredible flavor and texture, furthermore, adding in those crispy bits, that I know we all so love!
Pizzoccheri alla valtellinese (Buckwheat Pasta from the Italian Alps)
Nothing says ‘winter’ to me like pizzoccheri alla valtellinese, an Alpine buckwheat pasta dish oozing with melted cheese and winter vegetables, a typical dish of the Valtellina in the uppermost stretches of Lombardia, a fairly narrow valley region running northeast from the Lago di Como along the border with Switzerland.
- 2oog (2 cups) buckwheat flour
- 100g (1 cup) white all purpose flour
- 1 egg
- Water, q.b.
- A pinch of salt
- 4 medium potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 head of Savoy cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
- 200g (7 oz) butter
- 1-2 cloves of garlic
- A sprig of fresh sage
- 200g (7 oz) bitto or another semi-soft Alpine cheese
- 100g (3-1/2 oz) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
You make the pizzoccheri as you would any fresh pasta, but using 2 parts of buckwheat flour to one part regular wheat flour. (Buckwheat flour lacks gluten and needs some help to form a workable dough. Some recipes call for less regular flour, but the 2:1 ratio works well for me.) I use egg (and a bit of water) to bind the dough, but the original recipe (see below) calls for water only.
Roll out the pasta rather thicker than other kinds of fresh pasta (I use setting ” on my KitchenAid pasta roller) and let the rolled pasta sheets dry on a towel. Once dry enough, cut the sheets into strips, as wide as fettuccine or tagliatelle, say about 1 to 1.5cm (1/2 inch) wide and about 5-7 cm (2-3 in) long. Allow these little strips to dry out further while you prepare the rest of the dish (see photo above).
While your pizzoccheri are drying, prepare the vegetables that will accompany them, typically potato and a leafy winter vegetable, most often Savoy cabbage. Slice or cube the potato, as you prefer (I like them sliced) and immerse them in cold water. Shred your cabbage and add it, too, to the water. Instead of Savoy cabbage, you can also use spinach, swiss chard leaves or—as I did this time when I couldn’t find Savoy cabbage at the market—coste, or the stalks of swiss chard, trimmed of their leaves and cut into lengths about the same size as the pizzoccheri. Precise proportions are not critical in this kind of dish, but I like to use about one smallish potato and say 100g (4oz.) of leafy vegetable per serving. Bring a large pot of water to the boil, salt generously, and add your vegetables.
While the vegetables are cooking, melt a nice big piece of butter—at least 50g/2oz. per serving to which you add a clove or two of garlic and a sprig of fresh sage. Allow the garlic and sage to simmer very gently in the melted butter until the butter is infused with their flavors. Do not allow the butter to brown the garlic should brown, if at all, only slightly. Remove the garlic and sage when you’re done.
While the butter is simmering, either slice or shred some mild, semi-soft cheese, the most classic choices being the local cheeses bitto or Valtellina Casera. But since these cheeses are hard to find, even in Italy, outside their zone of production, fontina is often substituted. And if you can’t find fontina, I’d recommend staying in the Alps and using either Gruyère or Emmenthal. Grate about half that amount of parmesan cheese or grana padano. I like to use a lot of cheese as well, say 50g/2 oz. per serving, although you can use much less if you prefer a lighter dish.
After the vegetables have been boiling for about 5 minutes, add your pizzoccheri and lower the heat a bit and continue cooking for another 5-7 minutes. Pizzoccheri take surprisingly long to cook for a fresh pasta—if you taste after about 5 minutes, you may see that although the pasta is already al dente, there is a raw quality to it, due to the particular qualities of buckwheat.
While the pizzoccheri are cooking, warm a serving bowl in the oven. When you are ready to serve, take your serving bowl out of the oven and, fishing them out of the water with a large slotted spoon, add a layer of well drained pizzoccheri and vegetables, then top with some of the cheeses, seasoning if you like with salt and pepper:
Working quickly, repeat until you have used up the ingredients, then pour over all the melted butter (which should be hot). This will partially melt the top layer of cheese. Then toss to mix the ingredients (don’t overdo it) and serve immediately, while the pasta is still hot.
There are various theories about the origin of the rather odd name of this pasta. According to some, ‘pizzoccheri‘ comes from the local dialect word piz, meaning a ‘little bit’. Others say it comes from the verb ‘pinzare’ or to pinch, others from the dialect word bizzo, meaning a mouthful. Buckwheat, by the way is called grano saraceno—Saracen grain—in Italian. It was introduced into the Valtellina in the early 1600s, it would seem (judging from the name) having come from the Ottomans, although the historical record is apparently very sparse. These days, local production has practically disappeared and most buckwheat in Italy is imported from China. Russia and the US are also major producers. Besides pizzoccheri, buckwheat is used to make another typical dish of the Valtellina called sciatt, a kind of fritter.
The Valtellina is these days a popular tourist destination, known for its excellent skiing and other snow sports but also for thermal spas. (I rather like the idea of soaking in a hot spring surrounded by snow-peaked mountains!) Pizzoccheri are said to come from one of the larger towns in the valley called Teglio, where they have established an academy dedicated to this dish. The Academy has established an ‘official’ recipe, which you can read here, which is a bit different in some details from the recipe given above. In particular, the Accademia recipe calls for cutting the pizzoccheri much thinner (the recipe says 5mm, although I wonder if that isn’t a typo perhaps 50mm or half a centimeter was meant.) In addition, ‘real’ pizzoccheri are made only with flour and water, no egg. The addition of egg is a common modern heresy, however, as it makes the pasta easier to work with and improves the texture. Some modern recipes also call for a bit of milk, rather than water, to round out the dough. Marcella Hazan, in her Essentials of Italian Cooking, has a recipe for pizzocheri that calls for a short baking period just before serving to warm the pasta and melt the cheese. It’s not a technique that I’ve found from any other source, but not a bad idea. The result is a bit more ‘solid’, if I can use the term, than the traditional method outlined above.
Although originally a very local specialty, pizzoccheri have become popular all over Italy, and can be bought in a box like any other pasta, which make them very easy to make. (Here’s a video of them being made in a factory.) I have not found them sold commercially outside Italy, so you’ll have to make your own. Not such a terrible sacrifice, however, as they are actually quite easy to make. But the dough does take a bit of getting used to, as it is not nearly as pliable as normal pasta dough, even with a fair amount of wheat flour. Knead the dough especially well to bring out the maximum amount of gluten.
Although I haven’t done so, you might want to experiment with other winter vegetables. Kale, for example, could make for a nice (if unorthodox) change, regular cabbage strikes me as too tough for this dish, but might be work a try. If you use swiss chard stalks, don’t throw out the leaves whatever you do! They can be used like spinach in any number of dishes—among my favorites, in padella (sautéed in olive oil) as a side dish, combined with ricotta as a stuffing for ravioli, crespelle or cannelloni, or as a dressing for pasta.
Pizzoccheri (buckwheat pasta with potatoes and cheese) – Lombardia
- Mix the buckwheat, 00 flour, salt and water together and knead for 10 minutes.
- Wrap the dough in cling film and let it rest 20 minutes. Divide the dough into two balls, reserving one in the cling film. Dust the worktop with buckwheat flour. Using a long rolling pin, begin rolling the pasta into a circle.
- Add a lot of buckwheat flour to the top of the pasta disc. Roll the dough around the rolling pin, pressing down evenly by starting with both your hands in the middle of the rolling pin and spreading them apart as you roll. This method helps to roll the pasta out faster, thinner and with less effort.
- If there are any tears in the pasta (which is relatively brittle as buckwheat flour doesn't stretch like wheat flour), fold the broken edges over one another, press down with your fingers and roll with the rolling pin.
- When the pasta is 2 mm thick, unroll the pasta and dust generously with more buckwheat flour. Fold the dough in half and then in half again.
- Use a sharp knife to cut the pasta into 1 cm strips. Wrap a pan or board in cling film, dust it with buckwheat flour and unfold the pizzoccheri onto the board to rest. Repeat with the remaining dough.
- In a small frying pan, place the butter with the garlic and sage.
- Heat over medium heat until sage begins to sizzle a bit. Turn off the heat and set aside. Remove the garlic and discard.
- Bring to boil two large pots of salted water. In one pot add the potatoes and boil for 5 minutes. Add the cabbage to the potatoes and cook another 15 minutes.
- During the last 5 minutes of cooking, in the second pot, add the pizzoccheri and cook for 5 minutes. Drain the potatoes and cabbage. Drain the pizzoccheri. In a large serving dish, begin layering the potatoes and cabbage, pizzocheri, the Latteria cheese, the Parmigiano-Reggiano and the melted butter. When the cheeses have melted, serve the dish.
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