“Pizzoccheri” is a phenomenal Italian recipe commonly found at ski resorts in northern Italy. This pasta dish, served generally in winter, is a tradition of Valtellina in Northern Lombardy. The recipe, not suitable for those lactose intolerant, has two fundamental ingredients, buckwheat pasta and mountain cheese, lots and lots of mountain cheese. There is no “light” version to this dish, attempting to reduce the cholesterol content of this recipe would be like drinking a bottle of rosé at the Oktoberfest.
The recipe in itself is not very hard. Here are the ingredients for 4 people:
10 fresh sage leaves
4 cloves of garlic
2 mid-sized potatoes, peeled and cut in half-inch cubes
300g of Pizzoccheri (dried buckwheat pasta sold at most supermarkets)
250-300g of chard or alternatively savoy cabbage or chard
150-200g of mountain cheeses form Valtellina (mix 2 different ones: Bitto, Casera or similar)
100g of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Start by chopping the chard into medium size pieces, about 1 inch for the stem and a bit larger for the leaves.
- Chop the potatoes into cubes, not too small or they will melt completely.
- Cut the mountain cheeses into small cubes. They will need to melt completely on the pasta so shape is not an issue.
- Grate the Parmesan cheese.
- Cook the chard and the potatoes in a large pot with salted water for 5 minutes. Add the pizzoccheri pasta in the same pot and cook for 7-10 minutes.
- While the pizzoccheri are cooking, melt the butter in a pan with garlic and sage.
- Drain the pizzoccheri and vegetables. Save one glass of the cooking water, you will need this later.
- Place the pizzoccheri and vegetables in a large bowl add the cheese and combine. To help mix the ingredients add the cooking water that you had saved earlier and mix thoroughly.
- Sprinkle with pepper to taste.
- Finally pour the butter and the fried garlic and sage into the bowl and give it a last mix.