Tuesday, 1 July 2014

World Cup Food Challenge: Switzerland - Pizzocheri

I had always assumed that Switzerland would be the runners up in Group E.  That said it all came down to the last match.  France didn't do them any favours, only managing a draw against Ecuador.  A spirited 3-0 victory against Honduras was enough for the Swiss team to book their place in tonight's match against the mighty Argentina.

Having made a fondue for Switzerland in the opening round of the World Cup Food Challenge I was stumped for what to cook tonight.  What other food is synonymous with the Swiss?  I didn't want to start messing around with chocolate.  I have fought the good fight against rosties in the past and frankly, I never want to eat burnt and raw grated potato again.  Other possibilities included Muesli, but I want an evening meal not breakfast, and Berner Platte, but that is too similar to last night's choucroute garni and I couldn't face that again for a while.

Then I discovered that the Swiss have a healthy love for pasta.  Sharing a border with Italy was bound to rub off some influences.  Unlike the Italians though, the Swiss favour buckwheat pasta and I couldn't think of anywhere in Leeds that I'd be able to buy any, so I decided to make my own from scratch.  All I needed was some buckwheat flour and I had two options of where to get some.  My first were sold out and expecting a delivery on Friday, my second choice, Out of This World, had flour aplenty.

Making the pasta was child's play, so much so that I employed R, with a little supervision, to cut out the pasta after we had made the dough.  I'm sure Pizzocheri isn't meant to have wavy edges but that is the cutter that he chose.  The strips of pasta were cooked in plenty of boiling water with some potatoes, green beans and spinach.  Once cooked and drained the pasta and vegetables were layered with cheese in an oven proof dish and topped with fried onions, garlic, sage leaves and melted butter.

My favourite line of the recipe is the last one.  "Bake in preheated oven for 5–10 minutes at 250 ºCelsius. The cheese must melt."  And melt it did.  A bit of research into pizzocheri tells you that this is a favourite winter warmer and I can see why.  It definitely fits into the comfort food category.  The pasta has a lovely flavour from the buckwheat, and who doesn't love double carbs?

Sadly, by the time I had finished eating, Switzerland had been knocked out of the world cup by Argentina.  I know I'll be making fondue again and I'm sure that pizzocheri will make a return when the cold weather sets in.

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