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Homemade Buckwheat pasta – Pizzoccheri September 22, 2008

Posted by live2cook in Cherishing Dinners, Egg free.

I was making pizzoccheri for our dinner.   Rolling and cutting the dough, dropping the shaped pasta in boiling water….things were moving in a rythm.   The finished pasta dish turned out wonderful.  While we enjoyed our dinner, DH reminded me of an incident.  It was about my stay in the hospital when our son was born.  Since my Mom’s visa got delayed, she was not able to make it to US till a week later.  So, we decided to go with the meal options that the hospital offered for the patients.

Most of the items were alien to us.  We requested a nurse practitioner to help us.  She recommended a recipe and said that she would place the order as she was going to the cafeteria.  It was jumbo shells in tomato sauce.  But we mistook it for clams and refused the order.  The person who served the order and the nurse tried to convince us that it was just shells and it was a perfect vegetarian dish.  But, we believed that the nurse thought that sea foods are vegetarian. 🙂

Yes!  The only Italian food that we knew at that time was “Veggie Pizza”.  My efforts to figure out the foods that will suit our diet opened so many doors.  Next to Indian cuisine, a cuisine that rendered itself to vegetarian diet is Italian.  With the help of library books and internet, I collected a lot of Italian recipes.  Among those, the recipe for pizzoccheri pasta, inspired me a lot for two reasons.  It is egg free and the process of making the pasta is so simple.

When Meeta asked us to prepare authentic Italian recipes, I decided to prepare this pasta.  I thank meeta for hosting this wonderful event which inspired me to learn the history of this wonderful recipe.  If not for this event, I would not have researched for more information other than the recipe.

Pizzoccheri is a recipe from Valtellina, a valley in Lombardy region of Northern Italy.  The main ingredient of this recipe is Buckwheat.  The etruscans and saracens introduced the buckwheat grain to Italy in 14th century.  During that period buckwheat was a staple in that region and recipes like buckwheat polenta emerged.  But with the introduction of Maize made these buckwheat recipes less popular.

The Academy of pizzochero Teglio registers and maintains the traditional recipe of pizzoccheri.  As per the academy, there was a mention about pizzoccheri in a 15th century book written by Ortensio Landi.  He mentions that a cook named Melluzza Como was the inventor of Lasangna, Pinzocheri, etc.  Since there was no other information documented, we are unable to learn more about the origin of this pasta.  Though the meaning of the name is debatable, the most acceptable origin is the word “Pinzoccher“, which denotes the religious women who sacrificed their life for God.  Whether the recipe was prepared by them or the dough resembled the beige colored dress that these women wore, the pizzoccheri stands to represent the simplicity of their lives.

The English version of the recipe can be found here.

Modifications made by me:

  • I used only 3 Table spoons of Butter ( For 2 Persons)
  • I added a red bell pepper to the recipe
  • I Stir fried the Red bell pepper, cabbage and potato until soft in olive oil with a touch of Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes
  • I layered the vegetable, cheese and pasta.  Baked it for 15 minutes in a 375F preheated oven and served it as a casserole.

Method :

Buckwheat flour and all purpose flour kneaded into a stiff dough

Buckwheat flour and all purpose flour kneaded into a stiff dough

Rolled into half inch thick and cut lengthwise for 6 inches wide

Rolled into half inch thick and cut lengthwise for 6 inches wide

The lengthy strips of dough layered and chopped

The lengthy strips of dough layered and chopped

Chopped dough dropped into salted boiling water

Chopped dough dropped into salted boiling water

Cooked dough floats to the surface

Cooked dough floats to the surface

pizzoccheri layered with stir fried vegetables and cheese

pizzoccheri layered with stir fried vegetables and cheese

Seasoned with garlic butter and baked in oven.  Pizzoccheri is ready to dig in!

Seasoned with garlic butter and baked in oven. Pizzoccheri is ready to dig in!


Knock! Knock! Me Again!! May 24, 2008

Posted by live2cook in Breakfast, Egg free.

Well! I am Back!!

After a long break though!!! (Pretty long. I admit).

There are lots of things going on in my life. Changes…All at once….(When it rains, it Pours!! Ha! Ha!)

We moved to our new home…I changed Job…My In-Laws returned to India…The nasty Winter……and now its Spring………

Things are settling down a little bit, So, I thought it’s time to restart my travel on blog world and knock on my friends’ doors with homemade goodies!

Here we go…

Knock! Knock! me Again!!!!

Hi! I have brought Orange-Poppy seeds Muffins for you!!!!

Orange Poppy Seeds Muffin

This recipe is one among those that I wrote down while I was browsing the internet. Most of the baking recipes will be adjusted by me to suit my lifestyle. The major adjustment is replacing the eggs called for. If the recipe contains only one egg, I will skip the egg altogether and add couple of table spoons of unsweetened apple sauce. If the recipe calls for more than one egg, I will replace the eggs with Ground Flax seeds and water mixture.

Before we talk about the recipe, let me mention couple of things about flax seeds. Flax seeds are tiny seeds either brown or golden in color. They also have the name Linseeds. Next to seafoods, flax seeds has the most necessary Omega-3 fatty acids. If you have oriental super markets near by, look for these seeds under the name “Alsi seeds”. 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds and 3 tablespoons of water mixture replaces one egg in a recipe. While grinding the seeds, do not grind along with the water. The seeds won’t grind properly. It is hard to grind a table spoon or two in a blender or spice grinder. So, powder 1/4 cup of flax seeds in a spice grinder, store it in an air tight container and refrigerate. When needed, take only the necessary amount of flax powder in a small mixing bowl. Use hot water to mix with the flax powder. whisk both until lump free and let it stand for 5 minutes or until you set up other ingredients. This resting time helps the oils in the flax seed to mix well with the water and provide a texture like glue.

Flax Mixture

The recipe with my adjustments is:

1 1/2 cups Whole wheat flour
1 cup Unbleached all purpose flour
1/3 cup Sugar (The original recipe called for 1/4 cup brown sugar. But they used Frozen orange juice concentrate which will compensate for sweetness. So I increased the amount of sugar little bit)
1/4 cup Canola oil
1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/4 cup Fresh orange juice (Recipe called for Frozen orange juice concentrate)
2/3 cup non fat yogurt (I used homemade yogurt made with skim milk)
3 Tbsp Food Grade Poppy seeds ( I used the Indian white variety)
2 Tbsp Ground flax seeds (Recipe called for 2 eggs)
6 Tbsp Hot water
1 Tbsp orange zest (I zested an orange and ground the orange for the 1/4 cup juice above)
2 tsp Baking powder
2 tsp Maple syrup (optional)
1 tsp Vanilla extract

The Preparation is quite simple.

1. Grease a 12 cup Muffin Tray.
2. Mix Flours, Sugar, Poppy Seeds, baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center.
3. Whisk together all the wet ingredients in a mixing bowl and add to the well in the Flour mixture.
4. Fold in the flour to the wet ingredients until moistened.
5. Bake in a 350 Degrees preheated oven for 20-22 minutes.
6. Leave in pan for five minutes and remove from pan. Cool before storing.

Since there is tiny bit of citrus in there and I increased the amount of sugar, the recipe goes for the SHF Event hosted by Tartelette . she has chosen Citrus as this month’s theme.