Thursday, May 08, 2008

Pizzoccheri Valtellina

Finally I've managed to organise myself to have something ready for Presto Pasta Night, graciously hosted by Ruth from Once Upon A feast.

This week I've got an unusual pasta


They are called Pizzoccheri and are a short cut flat noodle - they come from Valtellina, a valley in the region of Lombardia close to the border of Switzerland. The distinctive texture and colour is due to the mix of flours used in the dough - they are made from a roughly even mix of Buckwheat flour, Durum Semolina and Durum Wheat Bran with just enough water to bind the ingredients. They are made without salt, oil or eggs.

I enjoyed these at a meal at The Grand and just fell in love with the traditional way they are served. It's simple but full of flavour - a sage brown butter sauce forms the base to which cubes of potato, cabbage and taleggio are added.

I thought I might add a bit of colour by using Sapphire potato

sapphire potato

It's a purple potato but what makes it different is its internal markings. The skin is a deep purple and when peeled you are confronted by white flesh. It's only when you cut through the centre that you can appreciate its beauty. As the potatoes for this dish are cut into cubes I should be able to maintain that mottled look.

The recipe is a bit vague as it's something that you can make by eye and with your own preferences in mind.

pzzoccheri valtellina

Pizzoccheri Valtellina
[Serves 2]

fresh sage leaves
2 garlic cloves, sliced finely
1 potato, peeled, cut into small dice
cabbage, thickly sliced, handful
taleggio, diced

Place a few generous knobs of butter into a skillet and place on a low heat - it's important that you do this slowly and that you not skimp on the butter as it will form the sauce.

Once the butter has melted add the sliced garlic and sage leaves and stir keeping the flame as low as possible. You don't want the garlic to brown, you want it to take it's time and soften and end up almost melting into the butter - the sage leaves will become wonderfully crisp during the long cooking time and intensify in colour.

Blanch the cabbage in the boiling pasta water for 30 seconds and then remove.

Blanch the potato cubes in the same water until they are almost soft but still have a little bite left to them - drain them and set aside.

When the pasta is almost ready add the potatoes to the butter mix and continue on a low simmer until they have finished cooking - add the cabbage and toss through before finally adding a little taleggio.

Stir and you'll notice that the taleggio will melt and form a sauce.

When the pasta has cooked, drain and add them to the sauce. Toss them well and add a few more pieces of taleggio.

Serve at once.

pizzoccheri valtellina

It's a hearty dish so a little will go a long way.


  1. What a presentation. Looks really good. I will look for this pasta on my next trip to the Italian import store (hopefully soon).

  2. As always, beautiful photos and I do love trying new pastas. Hopefully I can find some here in Halifax.

    Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Night.

  3. AnonymousMay 10, 2008

    My grandparents are from the Valtellina region and I have eated pizzocheri since I could eat solids.It was our Sunday lunch with Nanna and Pa, and Nanna would make her own pasta. It's just divine. I'm looking forward to trying your recipe.

  4. I have not heard of those dark sticks yet. Interesting combo, pasta and potatoes :-)

  5. Thanks VB!

    Thanks Ruth!

    Thanks Linda - I don't anything would ever complete with pasta made by your Nanna.

    Hi Z - it's not that uncommon in parts of italy to have pasta with potatoes even if it seems like a carb overload.

  6. What a fun pasta dish! Carbs and more carbs, my ideal :)

  7. Wonderful!
    and purple potato is so elegant!


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