Match of the week | Pizzocheri and Valtellina

Match of the week

Pizzocheri and Valtellina

A slightly obscure pairing this week from the Lombardy region of Italy, the focus for an absolutely brilliant pop-up supper I went to at Wild Artichokes in Kingsbridge last Friday.

It was based on authentic recipes that had been painstakingly researched and assembled by food writer Christine Smallwood in her brilliant book An Appetite for Lombardy and cooked by Jane Baxter, ex River Café, former head chef of the nearby Riverford Kitchen and, most recently, author of Happy Salads.

Practically everything was different from the dishes you’d find in a restaurant. The courgette fritters for example, contained crushed amaretti and this ribsticking dish of buckwheat pasta, potato, cabbage and cheese is not one I’d ever come across before.

Largely because of the cabbage it paired perfectly with a light Valtellina red from the same region, one of those Italian reds that behaves like a white wine with food. Christine had brought along a bottle of Mamete Prevostini Santa Rita, Rosso di Valtellina which is 100% nebbiolo (known locally as Chiavennasca) and which costs around £18 from Kingsbridge Wine Rooms and online from Food & Fine Wine.

The recipe, which comes from Anna Bertola of Trattoria Altavilla in Bianzone tells you how to make the pasta from scratch but Christine says you can buy it dried at a good Italian deli like Lina Stores in Soho. Sounds like the perfect dish for a dark, wet, end-of-October night.

Although Wild Artichokes is not a restaurant in the conventional sense it hosts regular lunches, dinners and special events so it’s well worth checking their website or getting on their mailing list if you’re staying in the South Devon area.

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