Pizzoccheri alla Valtellinese

Photo by Stephen Clarke

Not far from Lake Como are the steep valleys and mountains of the Valtellina, where this dish originates. One of Lombardy’s favorite winter warmers, it pairs buckwheat pasta with potatoes, Swiss chard and Lombardy’s creamy cow’s cheeses.

Courtesy of Marcello Piacentini, Chef de Cuisine at Andiamo

Serves 4

For the pasta:

  • 1 pound buckwheat flour
  • 3½ ounces flour type “00”
  • 10 fluid ounces water
  • 1 tablespoon salt

For the sauce:

  • 14 ounces Swiss chard or Savoy cabbage, washed and chopped
  • 4 ounces yellow potatoes, diced
  • 6 ounces Casera Valtellina or Bitto cheese, diced
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter
  • 1 garlic bulb
  • 3 sage leaves
  • 1 cup grated Grana Padano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix the two flours and the salt in a bowl and slowly add the water. Work the dough by hand on the kitchen table for a few minutes. Roll out into a thin sheet and cut into 2 x ½ inch strips. No need to set up the pasta rolling machine, just a simple rolling pin and a sharp knife will do.

To make the sauce, melt the butter slowly in a large pan with the garlic bulb cut in half and the sage. Turn off the heat as soon as it starts to foam and remove the garlic. Let the butter rest. Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add the potatoes first, followed by the chard and the pasta last.

When all the items are cooked, strain them from the water and place them in the pan with the butter. Turn the heat back on and stir in the Valtellina Casera cheese and the Grana Padano. Season with some freshly ground black pepper and salt.

What to Drink: Lis Neris ‘Traditional’ Chardonnay Isonzo 

“A richer, floral style of Chardonnay from one of the finest producers in N.E. Italy. This wine has the guts to stand up against the buckwheat and Padano but the fresh acidity keeps it from being cloying.” Rupert Owen, Premier Crew sommelier