Pizzoccheri pasta: history and original recipe of Valtellina

Pizzoccheri pasta is a typical pasta of Valtellina, traditionally prepared with buckwheat and other flours. It is a traditional dish very well known native to Valtellina and is prepared mainly in Lombardy but also in the Swiss canton of Grisons. So let’s discover the history and the recipe to prepare this typical Italian dish!


History of pasta Pizzoccheri

Pasta Pizzoccheri, which sees buckwheat among the main ingredients, has very ancient origins. Most probably buckwheat was cultivated in Valtellina since 1616; later it spread also in unproductive areas because thanks to the peculiar characteristics of this wheat it was possible to cultivate it also in alpine lands. The custom of making Pizzoccheri pasta probably dates back to the introduction of the buckwheat in Valtellina and in the province of Sondrio.

From some writings of H.L. Lehmann in his work Die Republik Graubündeni, the “Perzockel” are cited as buckwheat noodles and eggs; In addition Giuseppe Filippo Massara cataloged among the various plants found during excursions in the province of Sondrio just the buckwheat, stating that with this they prepared the Pizzoccheri.

The etymology of the name is still not very clear: probably the root “pit” or “piz” means bit, or the word “pinch”, or crush, as a reference to the crushed shape of the dough. Others maintain that the word “pinzochera”, already used in the ‘300 by both Dante Alighieri and Giovanni Boccaccio, indicates poverty and simplicity, referring to a simple dish.

In any case, the most recent sources relating to Pizzoccheri pasta date back to the end of the nineteenth century: the doctor Bartolomeo Besta speaks of dishes based on buckwheat, the “tagliatelli” called Pizzoccheri that are boiled and then seasoned with cheese and butter.

Pizzoccheri e sapori d'autunno, a Teglio 13 weekend di gusto - La Rassegna

Pasta recipe Pizzoccheri

As you may have guessed, the pasta Pizzoccheri is a very appreciated recipe, especially in Lombardy. Despite being a dish of humble origins, it is a very tasty and quality recipe, two characteristics given by the goodness of the same ingredients, namely buckwheat flour ground stone, Garden cabbages and alpine butter that make this dish truly unique!

Let’s find out what are the ingredients needed to prepare this typical dish of Valtellina:

Buckwheat flour ground in stone 400 grams
Flour 00 100 grams
Potatoes 500 grams
Water 270 grams
Savoy cabbage 400 grams
Alpine butter 150 grams
Semi-fat cheese 200 grams
Grana Padano PDO

To begin, take the buckwheat flour and 00 and sift; then pour the water, a pinch of salt and start to knead. Work the dough on an already floured pastry board until a homogeneous and compact ball is formed. Then roll out the dough using a rolling pin until you get a sheet about 2 millimeters thick. At this point cut the dough into strips of about 10 cm, then cut each strip diagonally forming strips about 1 cm wide.

At this point prepare the vegetables: peel and cut the potatoes, leaf the cabbage, divide the leaves in half and cut into small strips. Now take a pot with salted water until it boils, pour the cabbage leaves and cook for about 8 minutes; then add the potatoes. Cut the cloves of garlic in half, cook them in butter and in the meantime cut the cheese into cubes. Pour the pizzoccheri into the water with cabbage and potatoes and cook for about 10 minutes.

Now drain the Pizzoccheri pasta and serve it in a plate with diced cheese, butter without garlic and grain.

Of the little tips I can give you are to not store Pizzoccheri pasta in the fridge for more than 12-24 hours and not freeze it. It is also good to handle the dough for at least 20 minutes in order to promote fermentation with the heat of the hands.

Now that you know this traditional Italian recipe, you are ready to get to work: buy all the necessary ingredients and amaze your friends with a nice lunch of Pizzoccheri pasta!

Ricetta Pizzoccheri alla Valtellinese - Il Club delle Ricette

cover image: lacucinaitaliana

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