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Pizzoccheri con Porcini e Verza alla Salvia -- Pizzoccheri with Porcini, Savoy Cabbage, and Sage

Porcini!Pizzoccheri are a classic pasta type from the Valtellina, up in the mountains of Lombardia, and consequently are ideally suited to mushrooms. If you cannot find pizzoccheri, use whole wheat tagliatelle. To serve 4 you'll need:

  • 14 ounces (350 g) pizzoccheri
  • 10 ounces (250 g) fresh porcini (substitute portabellas if need be)
  • 12 ounces (300 g) Savoy cabbage
  • 4 ounces (100 g) smoked scamorza (a firm smoked cheese that will melt, and is fairly pungent)
  • An onion
  • A clove of garlic
  • The leaves of a sprig of sage
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) unsalted butter
  • Hot pepper
  • Salt and pepper

Trim the roots from the mushrooms, wipe the dirt off with a cloth, and slice them lengthwise. Slice the onion finely and cook it in a third of the butter over a low flame until it has wilted and become translucent; do not let it brown. Add the mushrooms and cook over a medium flame for 10 minutes.

While it's cooking wash the cabbage and cut it into thin strips. Put them in a pot with cold water to cover and bring them to a boil; salt the water, stir in the pizzoccheri, and cook the mixture for 12-15 minutes, or until they are al dente.

While the pasta is cooking peel and slice the garlic, and sauté it with the sage in the remaining butter until the butter is nutty brown.

Peel the skin from the smoked scamorza and slice it very finely. Drain the pasta mixture and transfer it into a bowl. Stir in the mushroom sauce and then layer the pasta in a bowl; cover each layer with a layer of finely sliced cheese, sprinkle it with some of the melted butter, and season it with a healthy grating of pepper. Dust the top of the pasta with a little hot pepper, and serve the pizzoccheri quite hot.

Serves 4

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