Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Pizzoccheri (Italian Buckwheat Noodle Casserole)

This dish came from Robin Asbell's The New Whole Grain Cookbook. I consider it a vegetarian main dish. In the notes, I have the tips to make it vegan. 

1 tablespoon butter (use vegan butter)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
14 ounces savoy cabbage, thinly sliced (6 cups)
4 ounces thin French beans or green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch slices
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 8-ounce package soba noodles
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper
6 ounces aged fontina cheese, shredded (skip for vegan)

  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. 
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. 
  3. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large saute pan and cook the cabbage and French beans over medium heat. (French beans will cook more quickly than green beans.) When tender and golden , about 5 minutes, add the garlic and sage, and cook for a few more minutes. 
  4. Take the pan off the heat. 
  5. Cook the soba in the boiling water according to the package directions, drain, then mix with the cabbage in the pan, adding the salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Lightly oil a shallow 1 1/2-quart baking dish, and put half of the noodle mixture in the bottom. Top with half of the cheese, then the remaining noodles, and finally the remaining cheese. 
  7. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until melted and golden. 
  • For vegan option, use vegan butter and skip the cheese. (Or if you know of a good vegan Fontina-like cheese, use that.)
  • You can also make this a day ahead, refrigerate, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Serves 6.
  • A whole wheat spaghetti could also be used if you can't find soba. If you want to be true to the Italian tradition, use a homemade buckwheat pasta and roll it out by hand.
  • Ryan made the suggestion to add chicken to the casserole to make it "feel more complete" for the omnivores in the family.

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