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I'm all about that apres-ski life. Fondue, cozy cocktails and wool blankets sound like my idea of a good time, so you can imagine why I went to St. Moritz in the Swiss Alps without even knowing how to ski. While I thought I could squeeze by the group and skip the slopes, they pushed me to join in the snowy fun and learn. Yes, European children laughed at me when I wiped out, but it was all worth it because I was introduced to the magic of Pizzoccheri, a cheesy buckwheat pasta with potato and Swiss chard.
This dish is as comforting as they come: tender buckwheat noodles and chunks of potato are completely coated in a velvety cheese sauce with some toothsome chard (because vegetables!). It doesn’t only warm your entire body and soul, but is the perfect hearty meal to fuel yourself up for getting back on your skis for a few more runs of the bunny slope.
As for the recipe itself, it’s actually incredibly easy with the proper attention to making fresh pasta. First, make sure your dough is tacky and smoothy, without being sticky or crumbly. Proper hydration is key! Next, let it rest. An hour at room temperature is important to let the gluten relax for a smooth and thin pasta dough. Finally, go crazy with the flour after you slice it to prevent the noodles from sticking. The rest of this pizzoccheri comes together in no time!
While this is my interpretation of the dish, I will say this recipe gives me the same cozy apres-ski vibes I crave even when I’m stuck in my NYC apartment. There’s snow better way to carbo-load for winter!
Prep time 60 minutes
Yield: Serves or Makes 1 lb noodles
In a large bowl, stir flours and salt to combine. Make a well in center and add the eggs. Using a fork, whisk eggs, slowly incorporating flour until a dough begins to form. Transfer to a clean work surface and knead until a smooth and elastic dough forms, about 5 minutes. Wrap in plastic and rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
Divide dough in 2 pieces. Working with one piece at a time and dusting with flour as needed, roll dough with a rolling pin to ½-inch thick, then using a pasta roller set on the widest setting, feed dough into it to roll through. Continue to roll, increasing setting each time, until pasta is ⅙-inch thick (around #4 on a KitchenAid pasta roller attachment).
Cut each long strip of pasta crosswise into 4 equal pieces, dusting with flour to prevent sticking. Divide rectangles into 2 stacks, then starting at long end roll each stack up and slice into ½-inch strips. Toss strips with more flour to prevent sticking.
In a heavy bottomed pot or wok, melt butter over medium heat. Add potatoes and garlic and cook, stirring often until tender, 10-12 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add buckwheat pasta and cook until al dente, 4-5 minutes, then drain.
To the potatoes, add chard stems and cook until tender, 2 minutes. Toss in drained pasta and chard leaves with cream. Cook until cream begins to thicken and the leaves have wilted, 2-3 minutes. Gradually add cheese, tossing constantly. Remove from the heat and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Divide between bowls and serve.