Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Pizzoccheri Della Valtellina

So what's a dish with an Italian name doing on my blog from France? It's just another example of the international cuisine that we enjoy experimenting with. And experiment we did. We warned our house guest, Chris, what she was in for.

Our version of Pizzoccheri della Valtellina.
Maybe we should come up with a French name for it?

My friend Andy, who lives with his wife Christa in Vienna, Austria, blogged about this hearty mountain dish that is popular in Switzerland, and he published his recipe. The dish originated in northern Italy, where buckwheat flour was introduced during the crusades in the middle ages.

Andy hints that, like many regional specialties, this dish is not so much a recipe, but a concept, and that variations abound. Since buckwheat noodles are not easy to find in our corner of rural France, I made my own. And while I've made my own pasta before, I've never ventured into flavored pasta, let alone buckwheat noodles.

I found a recipe for buckwheat noodles on the internet and set to. Buckwheat, or sarrasin, flour is common in France because it's used to make Breton crêpes, and we had some on hand. The noodles are made with two parts sarrasin, one part standard flour (to provide the gluten that buckwheat lacks), eggs and milk. A few turns of the pasta machine and voilà!

We used frozen spinach, again because it's what we had in the house, agata potatoes, smoked lardons, and comté cheese (from the mountains on the Franco-Swiss border). We also mixed the final dish into a lasagna pan and sprinkled cheese on the top and popped it into the oven for a bit to warm through and melt the cheese.

Boy, was it delicious - each of the three of us had seconds, and Ken had thirds. Thanks, Andy!


  1. That dish looks enough for an army!

  2. We are having our third meal of it today at lunchtime. It really is a variation on Brittany galettes de sarrasin, for which you fill a thin buckwheat pancake with good ingredients like spinach, cheese, ham or lardons, eggs, and potatoes.

  3. Miam miam miam - this sounds good nourishing comfort food. And you made your own buckwheat noodles - great idea - I must try that myself.

  4. It looks "apetissant" Walt. Will keep this recipe for next Fall since Spring is BBQ time.
    We are lucky in Eastern Canada- at least in Montreal- It is in the 20 's C, sunny and the Habs ( hockey players) have beaten the Boston Bruins in the first playoff of the Eastern series for the Stanley Cup.

  5. French or Italian, that dish calls for a triple encore!

    Being Montreal-born, but in Toronto since 1975, I always have mixed feelings about the Stanley Cup. Maple Leaf lost this year again, but I did rejoice about the Habs. I hope they make it to the finals.

  6. victor, indeed. We had several meals from that dish.

    susan&simon, yes, very comfort-food like.

    beaver, I can't wait for it to be BBQ time here!

    claudia, I'll make it again, I'm sure.

  7. Walt, wait until I get around to placing my recipe for Alpler Macaroni on my blog ... another great winter dish. Glad you liked it!

  8. andy, looking forward to it!

  9. Hmm yum yum... I love food topped with lotsa melting cheese! *droolz*

  10. god that sounds good. yum yum.

  11. kyh, me too!

    pj, you'd want to wait for winter, though, given the climate you live in!


Pour your heart out! I'm listening.