Valtellina pizzoccheri is a hearty dish of wide buckwheat noodles in a savory sauce of cooked cabbage, butter, onion, garlic, and sage, all thickened with potato. Honestly, it’s amazing.
Don’t think that pizzoccheri (peet-zo-key-AIR-ee) has anything to do with pizza. Pizzoccheri is a hearty flat buckwheat noodle found in the Lombardy region. Valtellina is one of the north-most points of Lombardy, near the Swiss border. I’ll bet pizzoccheri is a popular dish at the end of a day’s skiing.–The Silver Spoon Kitchen
LC Got Cheese? Note
Although this Valtellina pizzoccheri recipe generically calls for “low-fat cheese,” the authors aren’t referring to that bland, rubbery stuff labeled “lite” and found on supermarket shelves. What they mean is relatively less rich cheeses. You know, like fontina as opposed to brie, if that makes any sense. We’re told, according to the editors, that “fontina is most often used in combination with Parmesan for this sauce.” Do as you will with that information. Our work here is done.
For the pasta
- 1 1/4 cups buckwheat flour
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour preferably Italian type 00, plus extra for dusting
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons milk
For the pasta sauce
- 14 ounces savoy cabbage shredded
- 1 potato chopped
- Scant 1/2 cup butter
- 1 onion thinly sliced
- 1 garlic clove thinly sliced
- 4 shredded sage leaves
- 5 ounces sliced low-fat cheese
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper
Make the pasta
- Sift together both flours and a pinch of salt into a mound on the counter and make a well in the center. Add the egg, 1 tablespoon warm water, and the milk and gradually incorporate the flour with your fingers, adding more warm water if necessary. Knead until smooth.
- Roll in a damp dish towel and let rest for 30 minutes.
Make the pasta sauce
- Put the cabbage and potato into a pan, add water to cover, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes until the cabbage is tender and the potato is almost disintegrating.
- Divide the butter between three small pans and cook the onion, garlic, and sage in the separate pans until soft and golden brown.
- Roll out the pasta dough into a fairly thick sheet on a lightly floured counter and cut into 1/2-inch wide ribbons about 8 inches long.
- Add the pizzoccheri to the pan of cabbage and potato, cook for 5 minutes, then drain, and transfer the mixture to a large dish. Pour the three hot butters over the mixture and toss lightly.
- Arrange a layer of pizzoccheri-vegetable mixture on the base of a soup tureen, place a layer of cheese slices on top, and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Continue making alternating layers until all the ingredients are used. Serve hot.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Originally published January 04, 2010
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
I LOVE pizzoccheri. Most people just cook them with the traditional recipe, but I love them in all kinds of sauces. Try truffle sauce and cream! Or lighter, like sauteed veggies.
The best pizzoccheri I found are from the original manufacturer in Italy. They are sold in the US through Pappa Italiana, so they ship from the US. They are all-natural and (compared to some stores) pretty affordable, I think.
Matteo, thanks for the link suggestion. Much appreciated.
I have to ask—why do you have to cook the 3 items in butter in 3 different pans?
Cindy, the three items (onion, garlic, and sage) cook at different times and temperatures. Fore example garlic burns easily. But I see no reason why you can’t sauté the onions and sage together then add the garlic to the same pan and cook for two minutes more. That will save you two pans.