Valtellina – Lombardia
I first had this dish when I was ski-ing in Santa Caterina in the Valtellina just after the World Cup had been held there. I liked it so much I asked the chef to show me how it was cooked. He invited me to return the following day to cook it with him! I still have the notes I scribbled on a scrap of paper that I made that day
12 oz (350 g) dried pizzoccheri pasta, one of the only traditional wholewheat pastas
8 oz (225 g) potatoes, peeled and diced
7 oz (200 g) cabbage or spinach or anything green, trimmed
5 oz (150 g) unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, sliced
Freshly grated nutmeg
Few sage leaves
7 oz (200 g) Fontina cheese, diced. It should be Bito cheese but that’s impossible to find outside the area
4 oz (l 00 g) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Cook the pasta, potatoes and green vegetables together for 20-25 minutes or until tender. Drain the pasta and the vegetables.
- Heat the butter and gently fry the garlic for a few minutes, adding the nutmeg and sage.
- Preheat a large serving bowl. Put a layer of the pasta and the vegetables in the bottom, sprinkle with some of the Fontina cheese and some of the Parmesan cheese. Repeat the layers once again.
- Pour the hot butter and garlic over the top, mix slightly into the pasta, and serve.
A variation if you want to prepare ahead of time is to layer the pasta, vegetables, butter and cheese into an oven proof dish. Top with a layer of parmesan cheese and put in the oven on a medium heat for 15 minutes. In this way the fontina becomes even more melted and stringy.