In Northern Italy, pizzoccheri are short, flat buckwheat noodles cooked with cabbage and potatoes and layered with cheese. For his version, Jonathon Sawyer cuts fresh lasagna sheets into noodles (buckwheat noodles can be hard to find) and bakes them in a gratin dish with a crispy bread crumb topping.
Plus:Ultimate Comfort Food Guide
1 stick unsalted butter
2 tablespoons chopped sage
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
One 1/2-pound baking potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 pound fresh lasagna sheets, cut into 6-by-1 1/2-inch strips, or fresh
1 small head of Napa cabbage, thinly sliced (6 packed cups)
Freshly ground pepper
5 ounces imported Fontina cheese, shredded
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 350°. In a small skillet, melt 6 tablespoons of the butter with the sage, poppy seeds and caraway seeds and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until nutty and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potato and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potato to a bowl. Add the pasta to the pot and cook, stirring, until al dente, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pasta to a colander. Add the cabbage to the pot and cook until just wilted, about 3 minutes. Drain the cabbage and shake out the excess water. Pour off the water and return the cabbage to the pot, along with the pasta and potato. Add the browned butter, season with salt and pepper and toss well. Stir in 1 cup of the Fontina and half of the Parmigiano and transfer the mixture to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
In the small skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the bread crumbs and parsley and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until golden and toasted, 3 minutes. Stir in the remaining Fontina and Parmigiano and sprinkle over the pasta. Bake for 35 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Serve hot.
The unbaked gratin can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before baking.
Cool-climate white wines pair well with creamy pastas: They have both high acidity, to cut through the richness, and enough body to stand up to the dish. Pour a white from Northern Italy.
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