Total Time: 40 minutes

Pizzoccheri della Valtellina a hearty recipe for those cold winter days.

Pizzoccheri is a kind of pasta made with a large percentage of buckwheat flour. The name “buckwheat” has nothing to do with wheat. Buckwheat is a plant with grain-like seeds related to rhubarb. They produce a dark flour.

Valtellina is a valley in Lombardia, north of Milan by the Swiss border. The pasta recipe is traditional from this place. So the dish is called “pizzoccheri della Valtellina”.

 

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 1 pound pizzoccheri
  • 8 ounces potatoes cut in cubes
  • 8 ounces swiss chard cut
  • 8 ounces casera cheese shredded
  • 6 ounces grana padano grated
  • 3 ounces butter
  • 1 clove garlic cut in 2-3 pieces
  • salt
  • pepper

 

Directions:

Use a large pot. When water boils, salt and throw in the potatoes and chard. After 5 minutes, throw in the pizzoccheri and boil 8-10 minutes more.

Using a skimmer transfer ingredients from the pot to a warm ceramic baking dish and fill to form a layer.

Sprinkle the cheeses on top and add some pepper. Repeat for another 2 layers.

At moderate heat melt butter with the garlic in it. Wait until garlic browns and butter darkens. Then remove garlic and pour melted butter evenly over the dish.


Casera cheese is difficut to find. Use fontina or similar semisoft cheese.

The recipe calls for grana padano. In case substitute with parmesan or similar.
You can use another similar leafy vegetable or savoy cabbage in place of chard.
Pizzoccheri may be difficult to find. Making them is the same process as making pasta.


How to make pizzoccheri

  • 2 cups buckwheat flour
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • about 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Makes about 1 pound pizzoccheri

 

Note: The process of making pizzoccheri can be more laborious as buckwheat flour has no gluten, substance which helps dough stick together and adds elasticity.

Take out the ingredients from the pot (potatoes, chard and pizzoccheri) a little wet when forming the layers. Steam will keep the dish hot and helps in melting the cheeses.

In the Swiss chard the stem is harder than the leaves. So remove it and for better cooking cut it in thin pieces.

Some like to add sage leaves when heating butter.

More Italian pasta recipes from Italy’s regions

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