pizzoccheri with broccoli and sausage

Our fontina Val d'Aosta supplier at the local farmers' market cheese chop had led us to believe that he was giving up on the product—not enough demand he said and when he tried to order it for us anyway, it failed to come through. Soon after while browsing in a trendy Manhattan gourmet food market [ABC Foods] that our French-speaking friends pascale and jamila showed us on a rare visit to the Big Apple, bob spotted the cheese and scored a hit for a subsequent batch of the traditional pizzoccheri recipe. Meanwhile we coincidentally observed several recipes in food mags calling for this very same cheese.

We return to our former supplier browsing for ... cheese, of course, when we spot a big hunk of Val d'Aosta! After bob had just finished telling ani it was useless to ask if they might have some. We request a whole pound this time in our excitement but the cutter's guess is way low at 0.7 lb. We say okay, expecting to return for another hit the following week, which we did, this time asking for a half pound, and getting ... 0.7 lb. Okay, we give up. By a further coincidence, one of the food mags we'd bagged at a local book superstore has an alternative pizzoccheri recipe. Saturday night we plan another malanga soup workshop but the new sister-in-law doesn't like soup so much and requests an additional entree. We use the occasion to try out the new pizzoccheri recipe, using up our last box of the noodles. Presenting a new problem—how to find a new pizzoccheri supplier. It's always something.

But this pizzoccheri recipe turned out to be really tasty. Worth doing again. And again.

ingredients

1 lb pizzoccheri
1 T salt
1 potato, peeled and diced
2 c broccoli florets
2 T unsalted butter
4 sage leaves
3 oz chicken (or other) sausage, casings removed, crumbled
1/2 lb fontina Val d'Aosta, cubed

instructions

  1. When the pasta water starts boiling, salt it and throw in the pasta, potato, and broccoli and cook until tender (al dente pasta). Drain. [If you like your broccoli crisp instead of soft, you can delay its entry for 5 minutes.]
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter with the sage in a pan large enough to fit the pasta when it's ready to join the party. Add the sausage and cook until done, not crisp, stirring frequently.
  3. Toss the pasta broccoli with the sage butter sausage mixture, cook one minute and remove from the heat. Fold in the fontina and let melt a minute. Serve.
  4. 4 hearty portions according to the magazine. 582 calories per serving. A cooking software output number of course.

notes

  1. We used Italian fennel pork sausage, our favorite, and baby broccoli, sold with the line "milder, sweeter and more tender than broccoli or asparagus" (Asparation, a food scam we thought at first, but apparently a real cross between broccoli and chinese Kale).
  2. We'd already picked up a few issues of The Magazine of La Cucina Italiana, a slick Italian cooking magazine in English spawned by its much older partner magazine La Cucina Italiana in Italy, both now on the web. This recipe [Jan/Feb 2000, p.31: buckwheat pasta with sausage = pizzoccheri con salsiccia] we found in Italian at the partner site, nearly the same [tempo prep. 25' C.I. (La cucina rapida) 11/98 pag. 43: pizzoccheri con broccoletti e salsiccia; broccoletti are broccoli florets according to our 1999 Book and the Cook book find: The Dictionary of Italian Food and Drink]. Looks like we'll being picking this magazine up more often now.
  3. Illustrations available.
  4. To get into the recipe section of the original Cucina Italiana site, you must first register, and then you need to be able to read Italian, otherwise the above recipe link will not be very useful. When checking the link, a search on pizzoccheri turned up a potato variation that one might consider. The following is an example of a typical Italian style recipe, published with their permission. Note those metric units and quantities all by weight rather than volume:

    Pizzoccheri, broccoletti e patate

    Tempo: 25'

    Ingredienti: (dose per 4 persone)
    pizzoccheri della Valtellina g 400 -
    broccoletti g 250 - burro g 100 - Grana
    padano g 100 - 3 patate - 2 spicchi d'aglio
    - salvia - rosmarino - sale

    Conto calorie: kcal 434 (KJ 1816) a
    porzione

    Sbucciate e tagliate a tocchi le patate.
    Mondate i broccoletti e divideteli a
    ciuffetti. Scaldate abbondante acqua, al
    bollore salatela e unitevi le patate e i
    broccoletti. Fate riprendere il bollore e
    unite i pizzoccheri, lasciandoli cuocere,
    insieme con le verdure, per circa 12'.
    Soffriggete in una padella il burro con i due
    spicchi d'aglio sbucciati e un ciuffetto di
    salvia e rosmarino. Scolate la pasta con le
    verdure. Conditela con il burro ancora
    sfrigolante, il Grana grattugiato e servite
    immediatamente.

    Consigli:
    una variante dei classici pizzoccheri
    (tagliatelle di grano saraceno), piatto unico
    tipico della Valtellina solitamente preparato
    con le verze.
  5. E-mail us for a translation. We might even honor the request.
  6. If you can't score a hit of pizzoccheri where you live, you might consider making some yourself.
  7. 2010 update:
    Vegetarian sausage makes this back into the vegetarian dish we love but with a kick. Ani found soy chorizio sausage at Trader Joe's to use when we had some "ixnay to orkpay" middle eastern friends [pork avoiders: "nix to pork"] over for dinner and the result was very tasty and animal free! Does anyone remember Pig Latin, or was that a casualty of the change of century?
pizzocr2.htm: 15-jan-2010 [what, ME cook? 1984 dr bob enterprises]