Pizzoccheri della Valtellina PGI

Pizzoccheri is a traditional dish from the Lombardy region of Italy, especially from the Valtellina valley. It consists of a type of pasta made with buckwheat flour and wheat flour, cooked with potatoes, cabbage and cheese, and dressed with butter, garlic and sage. It is a hearty and satisfying dish that dates back to the 16th century.

Pizzoccheri is usually made with a local cheese called Valtellina Casera, but other types of cheese such as Gruyère, Gouda or Fontina can be used as well. Pizzoccheri has been recognized as a protected geographical indication (IGP) by the European Union since 2016.

Born in 1500, pizzoccheri were the daily bread of the inhabitants of Valtellina, together with polenta taragna (always made of buckwheat) until they crossed the Valtellina borders in the second half of the 1900s to become popular throughout Italy.

Note for celiacs: buckwheat flour has no relation to real wheat, and does not contain gluten. If you want a gluten-free recipe, prepare the pizzoccheri by replacing the wheat flour with rice flour or other buckwheat flour And that’s it!

Ingredients for pizzoccheri

For 6 people
For the pizzoccheri

  • 200 grams of buckwheat flour
  • 200 grams of 00 flour (for celiacs replace with other rice or buckwheat flour)
  • warm water

For the seasoning

  • 1/2 cabbage
  • 3 potatoes
  • 200 grams of Casera
  • 100 grams of Bitto or Scimudìn
  • 50 grams of grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 150 grams of butter
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 10 sage leaves
  • salt and pepper

How to prepare perfect pizzoccheri

Mix the two flours, then pour them onto a pastry board and arrange them in a mound. Pour the warm water slowly and meanwhile knead with one hand. When all the water has been absorbed, work the dough more vigorously until you obtain a firm, slightly moist mixture. Cover with a kitchen towel and leave to rest for 1 hour.

Roll out the buckwheat pastry with a rolling pin, even in small pieces to help you, flouring it if it sticks. The pastry should have a thickness of 3-4 mm, therefore not too thin. Remember that they are rustic tagliatelle. Roll up the pastry and cut pizzoccheri of 6-7 cm, not longer, otherwise it becomes difficult to mix them with the sauce.

Put the water to boil in a very large pot.

Wash and cut the potatoes into cubes and the cabbage into strips, when the water boils, throw in and leave to cook for 10 minutes. Then add the pizzoccheri and mix. At the same time we prepare the seasoning. Melt the butter in a pan and flavor it with the sage leaves and uncrushed garlic. Be careful not to burn them: gentle flame.

Let’s start with the cheeses: cut everything into thin slices.

When the pizzoccheri are cooked, drain them and then start seasoning them layer by layer, alternating the pizzoccheri, the cheeses and the melted butter, placing everything in a pan which you will quickly put back in the oven for 2 minutes to allow the cheeses to melt adequately.

If you want pizzoccheri, but not all those calories, eliminate the cheeses (horror!) and season only with a sprinkling of Parmigiano Reggiano.

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