The night before we left Italy our friends Elena and Michela gave us dinner.  Pictured above is the Pizzoccheri della Valtellina (pronounced peets-och’-air-eee della Vahl’-tell-ee’-nah) that Elena prepared.  I had never heard of this dish, but judging from the number of recipes on the internet it must be rather well-known.  It is one of the best cold-weather dishes I’ve ever eaten.  The first thing you will have noticed is that the pasta is not white; it is a buckwheat pasta (the pizzoccheri of the dish’s name), which is readily available in Italy.  It may not be so easy to find where you are, but it is easy to make, as you will see from the recipe over on the right.  This is a dish open to infinite variety depending on your taste, what you’ve got on hand or what’s in season.  Elena made hers with spinach, but you may use many different greens.  I have chosen the recipe that best seems to match what Elena gave us, but you may want a different one – there are a bunch of choices. But if you want to try Elena’s, click here or over on the right under Recipes.