In Valtellina, a valley in northern Lombardy that borders Switzerland, buckwheat is an important staple. Due the geographical location of this region, buckwheat grows easily and has been used to make buckwheat pasta here since the 18th century.
Teglio is in the province of Sondrio, Lombardy, and is considered to be the common symbol of pizzocchero, a place where the main agricultural focus is in the cultivation of buckwheat.
Buckwheat was introduced to the Italian valley of Valtellina during the fourteenth century and since then has been used to prepare many local dishes. As well as pizzoccheri, other local buckwheat dishes include ‘sciatt’, buckwheat pancakes stuffed with cheese, and ‘pizzoccheri of Chiavenna’, which is Valtellina’s version of gnocchi.
Buckwheat flour (ground groats) is more absorbent than wheat flour and is used in recipes for pancakes, blini, and pasta such as Italian Pizzoccheri and Japanese soba noodles. Buckwheat flour contains four times as much fiber as whole wheat flour, and is also a very good source of manganese and magnesium
Buckwheat, in all of its gluten-free glory, is actually closely related to rhubarb. In addition, it is an excellent source of fiber and nutrients. In particular, buckwheat groats (the small, triangular seeds), when cooked, offer 17 grams of dietary fiber or 68% of the daily requirement for a 2,000 calorie per day diet, as well as 22 grams of protein”.Celiac.com
The authentic Italian recipe for a traditional dish of Pizzoccheri di Taglio using pizzoccheri pasta, can be found at the Accademia del Pizzochero di Teglio. The ingredients for the dish include cabbage and potatoes. The pasta is cooked in the vegetable water. As for the dough, we have a recipe below. It is important to find the best quality flour that you can and use only natural spring water.
Buckwheat pasta dough – serves 3 – 4 people
- 14 oz/400 g Buckwheat flour (farina di grano saraceno) stone ground
- 4 oz/100 g Stone ground bread flour (Tipo ‘0’)
- 10 oz/285 g Water at 50 degrees C/122 degrees F
- In a mixing bowl combine the flours.
- Add warmed water a little at a time to form a dough using your fingers. The warm water helps the starches form more easily.
- When the dough is roughly formed, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead vigorously for up to 5 minutes. This is really important to produce an elastic dough. The resulting dough should feel silky and soft. You will know when this stage has been obtained just by running your hand over the surface of the dough.
- Form it into a ball and roll it out using only a light sprinkling of buckwheat flour when necessary to avoid the dough sticking to the rolling pin.
- Roll the dough to 2 – 3 millimeters thickness. That is about 1/10th of an inch, and form a disc (or rectangle if you can).
- When the dough has been rolled, lightly dust with buckwheat flour and trim it to a rectangle. Now cut strips of pasta 7 cm wide (2 3/4 inch). Dust with more buckwheat flour before stacking the strips on top of one another (be sparing with the dusting). Now you are going to cut these strips into smaller pieces cutting 1 cm (1/4 inch) wide strips along the length. For leftover pieces of dough, use them to make pizzoccheri di Chiavenna (see photo above). All you need do is to roll the excess dough into a finger wide sausage, cut piece of about 1/4 inch and roll these pieces over the tines of a fork pressing firmly with your thumb to form an indent on the inside. You can freeze these pieces for use later.
- Cook the pizzoccheri in a vegetable broth for 4 – 5 minutes.