Baked Pizzoccheri alla Valtellinese from the Alps

Pizzoccheri alla Valtellinese (baked buckwheat pasta)

Baked pizzoccheri alla Valtellinese is an unusual but delicious vegetarian buckwheat pasta dish from the town of Teglio in the Valtellina, a very beautiful and fertile valley in the Italian Alps. This is typical hearty and warming mountain fare, perfect for the cold season! 

pizzoccheri alla Valtellinese

Pizzoccheri alla Valtellinese is a healthy pasta bake.

I think pizzoccheri alla Valtellinese is unusual for two reasons. Firstly, the pasta, pizzoccheri, is traditionally prepared with two-thirds buckwheat flour and a third durum wheat flour. The buckwheat is what gives it its grey/brown colour. Buckwheat is very healthy and rich in antioxidants and polyphenols. Industrially produce pizzoccheri may not have the same amount of buckwheat flour as tradition dictates. However, even twenty-five percent buckwheat produces a pasta which is not only healthier than other types but very flavourful.

Ingredients for baked pizzoccheri alla Valtellinese

The other reason this dish is unusual is the inclusion of potatoes. Although there are a number of Italian pasta dishes with potatoes as an ingredient, they are more likely to be cooked at home than to be found on restaurant menus. Pizzoccheri alla Valtellinese, on the other hand, is the signature dish of traditional Valtellinese cuisine and is commonly on offer in trattorias and restaurants in the area.

potatoes, chard and pizzoccheri cooking in boiling water

A warming winter dish.

I think of baked pizzoccheri alla Valtellinese as an Italian version of Swiss raclette because the recipe includes quite a lot of cheese. In fact, the predominant flavours, apart from the pasta itself, are cheese and potatoes. It’s also a winter mountain dish like raclette, which is normally eaten with potatoes.

potatoes, chard and pizzoccheri drained in colander

Although the seemingly simple ingredients of this pasta recipe may have you thinking it is a bland dish. You would be much mistaken. Actually it is really really good! The addition of lots of cheese and a good dose of butter, melted to a glorious frothy, golden garlicky brown, make this a tasty and satisfying dish. You won’t even want dessert!

pizzoccheri alla Valtellinese in white dish before baking

What kind of cheese?

The cheese traditionally used in pizzoccheri alla Valtellinese is either casera or bitto. Casera is a cow’s milk cheese produced from milk that comes from herds in the Valtellina valley. It’s produced according to a tradition that is hundreds of years old! Bitto is made from summer milk from herds grazing on the hills of the valley plus a small percentage of goat’s milk. Both casera and bitto can be hard to find outside of Lombardy, the region where the Valtillena valley is located. However, you can replace them with fontina or gruyere. For my baked pizzoccheri alla Valtellinese,  I used fontina.

pizzoccheri alla Valtellinese in white oven dish before baking

Some changes to the original recipe!

I must confess I made a couple of changes to the official pizzoccheri alla Valtellinese recipe. Yes, there’s an official recipe published by an organization called L’Accademia di Pizzoccheri di Teglio! My changes were based on other recipes I found and my husband’s partiality for pancetta! You can watch pizzoccheri being made in the Valtellina in this video from Pasta Grannies.

baked pizzoccheri alla Valtellinese

Firstly, I reduced the amount of butter and I added some sage to it because I love that salvia e burro combination. Plus, I baked the dish rather than serving it unbaked. Actually, I made two dishes. In one, I put pancetta at my husband’s request (not traditional and not vegetarian!)

The other, I left without (more traditional and vegetarian). The pancetta certainly gave it a different flavour, but I have to say I preferred the recipe without pancetta and more or less as it is intended to be.  If you cannot find pizzoccheri, this recipe can also be made with other types of buckwheat or whole wheat pasta, short pasta or flat ribbons cut into pieces.

baked pizzoccheri alla valtellinese

If you do try this baked pizzoccheri alla Valtellinese recipe, I’d love to hear what you think. Please write a comment here on the blog or post a comment on the Pasta Project Facebook page.

Your feedback means a lot to me!

Buon Appetito!

Want to know more about my life in Italy? Go to the homepage and subscribe to my newsletter. New subscribers get a free recipe e-book too! https://www.the-pasta-project.com

Pin for later.

baked pizzoccheri alla Valtellinese

This recipe was originally published in 2017 but has been updated.

Save this recipe for later?

If you want to save this recipe for later, you can print it, bookmark this page or save it to Pinterest.

5 from 16 votes
pizzoccheri alla Valtellinese
Baked Pizzoccheri alla Valtellinese
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
55 mins
 

Pizzoccheri alla Valtellinese is a warming and nutritious vegetarian buckwheat pasta dish from the Italian Alps. It's easy to make and perfect for the cold season.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Lombardy, Northern Italy
Keyword: authentic Italian pasta recipe, baked pasta recipe, buckwheat pasta, Italian food, Italian recipe, pizzoccheri, vegetarian
Servings: 4
Author: Jacqueline Debono
Ingredients
  • 300 g pizzoccheri or buckwheat pasta (10-11oz) if you want to make your own pizzoccheri see my post about pizzoccheri
  • 200 g savoy cabbage or Swiss chard (7oz) cut into small pieces with any tough stalks removed.
  • 250 g potatoes (9oz) peeled and cut into smallish cubes
  • 100 g unsalted butter (3.5OZ)
  • 250 g Valtellina Casera DOP or Bitto, Gruyere or Fontina cheese (9oz) cut into cubes
  • 150 g Parmesan or Grana Padano (5oz) grated
  • 4-5 sage leaves torn in half
  • 1 garlic clove peeled
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • salt for cooking and to taste
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and start cooking the potatoes and the greens in it.
  2. After 5 minutes, add the pasta and let it cook for a further 10 minutes ( the pasta needs to be very slightly less than al dente).
  3. In the meantime, in a small frying pan, melt the butter with the clove of garlic and cook until both the butter and the garlic are golden

  4. Add the sage leaves just before the garlic is ready.
  5. Remove the garlic clove and set aside until the pasta is ready.
  6. Drain the pizzoccheri and vegetables and place half or one third of the mixture into an oven dish (depending on the size and depth of your dish)
  7. Scatter a handful of the chopped cheese over the top and sprinkle with some of the grated cheese,
  8. Add more pizzoccheri and scatter again with the chopped and grated cheese
  9. Repeat until you have used all the vegetables and pizzoccheri and the cheese is uniformly distributed through and on top of the dish.
  10. Pour over the frothy, browned butter with sage.
  11. Sprinkle with a bit more parmesan and grind some pepper on the top
  12. Bake in a preheated oven (180° or 350F) until the cheese on the top starts to turn golden.(about 5-10 mins)

  13. Serve immediately
Recipe Notes

If you don’t want to bake this dish you can cook the pasta a little more. Follow the other instructions except the casera/fontina cheese should be shavings not cubes and serve without baking.
If you want to add pancetta as I did for one dish. I fried 100g (3.5oz) of pancetta cubes in a little oil separately and added them to the pizzoccheri when I added the cheese to the dish.

Other warming pasta recipes here on The Pasta Project.

  1. Gnocchi alla Bava recipe from the Val d’Aosta
  2. Baked ziti or zitoni with spicy sausage recipe from Naples
  3. Cheesy baked pasta shells
  4. Baked Tuscan gnudi with tomato sauce

pizzoccheri alla Valtellinese

You May Also Like

25 Comments

  • Avatar
    Cathleen @ A Taste of Madness
    November 28, 2019 11:08 pm

    I love warming winter meals. This looks so perfect for the holidays when you want some comfort food.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 2, 2019 5:14 am

      Thank you, Cathleen! This is really perfect for warming you on a cold day!

  • Avatar
    Ramona
    November 27, 2019 3:46 pm

    Pasta, pancetta and potato, wow, this is heaven in my mouth and I am drooling at the moment – will make this as early as today for dinner since I have all the ingredients – will need to replace the pasta type for linguine as it is the only one I have at the moment in the house to come close to yours. yummm, I am so hungry now! Will come back to let you know how it went.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 2, 2019 5:15 am

      How did it go Ramona? Hope you loved it!

  • Avatar
    Stine Mari
    November 27, 2019 12:27 pm

    I love this unusual blend of potatoes and pasta. Also great to add buckwheat flour to make it healthier and more flavorful. Fantastic dish, I can’t wait to try it myself.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 2, 2019 5:16 am

      Thank you, Stine!

  • Avatar
    Constance
    November 25, 2019 11:57 pm

    I love your take on the recipe. I have never had buckwheat pasta, but now I do think I’ll need to keep an eye out for it!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 2, 2019 5:17 am

      Thank you, Constance! I hope you find buckwheat pasta to try!

  • Avatar
    Jennifer
    November 21, 2019 4:56 pm

    I have never heard of this kind of pasta before but now I am intrigued. Your dish looks delicious and so filling!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 2, 2019 5:18 am

      It’s delicious and so nutritious!

  • Avatar
    Demeter
    November 21, 2019 4:37 pm

    This looks like pure comfort food! So much better than having to go out to dinner.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 2, 2019 5:19 am

      Going out for dinner is lovely too of course, but you can’t beat this recipe for a lovely winter warmer!

  • Avatar
    Mel
    November 21, 2019 4:29 pm

    I use buckwheat to make bread and French galettes, but have never tried buckwheat pasta. Your recipe looks absolutely delicious.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 2, 2019 5:20 am

      I love the sound of your bread and galettes! And thank you, Mel!

  • Avatar
    Helen @ family-friends-food.com
    November 21, 2019 4:10 pm

    What an interesting recipe! I’ll have to keep an eye out for buckwheat pasta.

  • Avatar
    Dannii
    November 21, 2019 3:52 pm

    That looks like a really hearty and comforting pasta dish. YUM!

  • Avatar
    SAfira
    November 21, 2019 3:39 pm

    Looking forward to trying this. Love Buckwheat Pasta and can never go wrong with cheese. Sounds delicious!

  • Avatar
    John Fletcher
    November 18, 2019 8:52 pm

    Hi Jacqui,
    Could you tell me what temperature to set a gas oven to bake the Pizzoccheri alla Valtellinese.
    Regards,
    John

    • Jacqui
      Jacqui
      November 18, 2019 10:26 pm

      Hi John, thank you for your comment. I have updated the recipe instructions with oven temperatures. 180°c or 350 F is the best temperature! I hope you enjoy this dish!

  • Avatar
    melve
    March 20, 2018 2:37 pm

    Your recipes are amazing and you’re so good at it. Thank you for sharing this healthy and delicious recipe. Yum!

    • admin
      admin
      March 22, 2018 8:16 am

      Grazie di cuore as the Italians say Melve! I’m thrilled you like my recipes! This is a great one, very traditional in the Italian Alps. Def worth trying! Have a lovely day! Jacqui

  • Avatar
    Beth
    March 20, 2018 4:14 pm

    This dish was made for me! Lots of cheese! I have never seen buckwheat pasta. Sounds like a good, healthy substitution!

    • admin
      admin
      March 22, 2018 8:14 am

      Hi Beth and thank you! Yes the cheese in this dish really makes it yummy! Buckwheat pasta is a very healthy alternative to normal pasta. It’s traditional in the Valtellina where this recipe comes from! All the best Jacqui

  • Avatar
    Elaine @ Dishes Delish
    March 20, 2018 2:22 pm

    Yum. I really like the changes you made to the recipe as I love pancetta too!! This looks absolutely delicious!

    • admin
      admin
      March 22, 2018 8:18 am

      Thanks so much Elaine! Yes pancetta works really well in this recipe. I like it with and without! All the best from Verona! Jacqui

Leave a Reply