Pizzoccheri is technically the name of the buckwheat pasta in this dish, the dish itself comes from the Lombardy region of Italy and is known as Pizzoccheri alla Valtellinese. It’s one of those not much to look at but so good to eat dishes, a hearty vegetarian option for a cold evening.

I made the buckwheat pasta here but have used bought before, and let’s be honest, bought is easier in every way. It does specify savoy cabbage but regular cabbage is also fine, and if you can’t find any Fontina cheese you can use Gruyere or Gouda, or any Alpine style cheese that’s a bit melty and a bit nutty.

what you need

for the pasta
  • 250g buckwheat flour
  • 150g plain flour plus extra for kneading and rolling
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-3 tbsp full cream milk
  • 3-5 tbsp warm water
for the rest
  • half a savoy cabbage, cut into large chunks
  • 3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into large dice size 
  • Fontina and Parmesan cheeses
  • 100g salted butter
  • fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely diced or grated

what to do

  • For the pasta sift the flours, crack the eggs into the centre, add the milk and a pinch of salt, add 3 tablespoons of warm water, and begin to bring it together, adding a touch more water if needed. When you have a rough doughy mass, dust some plain flour on a work surface and knead for about five minutes, until smooth and elastic. Cover with a dry cloth and let it rest for thirty minutes.
  • When you’re ready to roll it out begin by dividing into four portions. Taking one quarter at a time, roll on the widest setting {usually number one} three times, folding into thirds between each rolling. Continue to roll it out thinner by moving the rollers a notch smaller each time until you get to about number four. Using either a fettuccine attachment or a sharp knife, cut into one centimeter long strands, and about 10cm long. Repeat for each portion of dough.

  • To make the rest of the dish bring a large pot of water to the boil, adding a little salt to the water, and heat your oven to 180C. When the water comes to the boil add the potatoes and boil them for around ten minutes or almost halfway done. Add the cabbage to the same pot, and when they’re about five minutes from being cooked add the pasta to the same pot also. Keep in mind that homemade pasta will only need five minutes, if you are using bought dried pasta it’ll need longer so cook according to packet instructions.
  • When it’s all cooked {doesn’t matter if it’s even a little overcooked}, drain well and layer half in a baking dish. Melt the butter with the herbs and garlic, and spoon about a third of it over the first layer, along with some grated Fontina and Parmesan. I also like to crack some fresh pepper over each layer.
  • Repeat with the remaining vegetables and pasta, sprinkle a generous amount of cheese on top, and spoon the rest of the butter over the top. Bake in the oven for about ten to fifteen minutes, until it’s golden and starting to crisp in some places. Bon apetit!

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