Buckwheat Noodles with Fontina and Swiss Chard

I Pizzoccheri della Valtellina

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These buckwheat noodles are a specialty of the Valtellina region in northern Italy. They can be found in certain stores or made at home by following the same procedure for egg pasta and using 3 eggs, 1 ¼ cups fine-grained buckwheat flour, 9 tablespoons regular flour, 1 tablespoon milk, 1 tablespoon water and ½ teaspoon salt. Roll the dough until it is a bit thicker than for fettuccine and cut into ribbons 1 inch wide and 3 inches long.

Total Time from Start to Finish: 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces pizzoccheri
  • 8 ounces red potatoes, peeled and sliced ¼-inch thick
  • 2 cups Swiss chard stalks cut 1-inch long and ½-inch wide
  • 1 cup Swiss chard leaves, torn into 2-inch pieces
  • Salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed
  • 3 to 4 fresh sage leaves
  • 4 ounces Italian fontina, cut into thin slivers
  • ½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°.
  2. Put the butter in a small saucepan and place over medium high heat. When the butter has melted add the garlic cloves and the sage. Cook until the garlic has lightly browned on all sides. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
  3. Fill a pot with about 6 quarts of water, cover, and place over high heat. When the water boils, add the sliced potatoes and cook until they are halfway done, 6 to 8 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons salt and the Swiss chard stalks. Once the water resumes boiling, cook for 3 minutes. Add the Swiss chard leaves and, when the water boils again, cook for another minute. Add the pizzoccheri and, when they are cooked al dente drain and transfer the contents of the pot to a mixing bowl. Pour the butter through a strainer over the noodles and add ¾ of the fontina and half the grated Parmigiano. Toss well and transfer to a buttered baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining fontina and Parmigiano on top.
  4. Place the baking dish on the upper rack of the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 2 to 3 minutes before serving.