Valtellina, a spa and winter holiday area, is in Lombardia, near Switzerland, and this dish certainly has an alpine feel and taste; it defines comfort food. If you can buy Pizzoccheri use that instead of the pasta below.
THE PASTA – a recipe stolen from chef Giorgio Locatelli
1 Cup (250 grams) Buckwheat flour
3/4 Cup (200 grams) white flour
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 Cup (200 ml) warm water
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1. Mix the two flours and salt in a bowl and make a well in the center.
2. Pour the warm water and olive oil into the well and mix together well.
3. Knead well until the dough is smooth and elastic; this may take a while.
4. Roll the dough out on a floured board to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Cut into strips about 1/2 inch wide and 3 inches long.
5. Let the dough rest while you carry on with
THE REST OF THE DISH
2 potatoes cut into cubes
1 medium onion
(1 clove garlic finely chopped, at your discretion – it is not required in this dish and is frequently not used.)
1/2 lb. chopped fresh spinach, or 1 cup frozen spinach (or other green of your choosing; reader Valtellinese says that cabbage is frequently used, and I’ve seen recipes that call for bok choy)
1/2 Cup (4 oz) butter
1/2 Cup grated parmigiano cheese
3/4 Cup grated fontina cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Bring a big pot of water to the boil and put in the potatoes. Cook for 10 minutes.
3. Add the pasta and onion and cook for 5 minutes.
4. Put the butter in a pan over low heat to melt.
5. Add the spinach (or whatever greens you’ve selected) to the potatoes, onion, garlic if using, and pasta; cook for 5 – 7 minutes or until the pasta is done.
6. Drain the potatoes, etc., and put into a large, flattish oven-proof dish.
7. Stir in the two cheeses, then drizzle the melted butter over everything.
8. Put the dish in the hot oven for 3-5 minutes and serve.