Now the Winter Olympics is going on in its full glory, I would like to introduce to you guys a wonderful specialty from the Italian Alpine region, pizzoccheri. It is an absolutely delicious comfort food, though quite rich, well worth a try for a special occasion on a chilly day!! The special pasta made with buckwheat has a wonderful nutty flavour with a brown shade, I am also interested in trying this with some other recipes.
200g/6,5oz of buckwheat flour
100g/3,5oz of regular flour + extra for dusting the board
pinch of salt
200g potatoes, peeled and diced
300g of spinach or cabbage, shredded. (also chopped broccoli or brussel sprouts are also delicious)
200g of mixed semi soft cheeses which melt well, fontina, taleggio, gouda, edam are great, finely diced or sliced
100g of grated parmigiano or grana padano
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced or crushed
dash of white pepper
-knead vigorously together the flours with a pinch of salt, adding just enough water. (you need to play around the amount of water, adding little by little for a right consistency) Keep on kneading well for at least 15 minutes until it attains a smooth somewhat elastic texture (but not as elastic as the egg based pasta).
-roll out the dough on a flat surface well dusted with flour, stretch it out with a rolling pin to about 3mm thickness (a bit thicker than regular fresh pasta) then cut into short strips about 1cm x 5-7cm (1/3 inch x 2-3 inch).
-Bring plenty of water to boil in a big pot, cook the potatoes, veg and pasta for about 7 minutes, skimming out the white residue that may float on the surface as needed.
-at the same time in a small skillet, cook the garlic in butter, taking care not to burn it.
-drain the pasta/veg well, then quickly toss them in a big bowl with the garlic/butter mixture, cheeses and dash of pepper until cheeses are melted and well blended in.
-serve it piping hot.
p.s. you may be able to find a ready made pasta dried and prepackaged (called pizzoccheri) in a specialty food store. This will save some work but it will take longer cooking time (10-12minutes), thus you may want to cook the vegetables separately.