In the Sondrio dialect, “sciatt” means toad, but, once served on the table, the term refers to the cheese buckwheat pancakes, and it is not randomly used: these delicious morsels, in fact, resemble to little toads due to the central swelling typical of their shape.
They represent a dish of the traditional rural cuisine in Valtellina, and, for this reason, there are many versions created by local habits and imagination in the kitchen. The sciatt are typically eaten with green salad, especially the “cicorino” of the local garden, cut in thin slices and dressed with vinegar. These pancakes, eaten warm, are an unforgettable delicacy, ideal as hors d’oeuvre or second course.
200 g buckwheat flour, 100 g white flour, water, 2 spoonfuls of grappa, 250 g Casera or Bite cheese, oil, vinegar, salt, chicory or any type of salad.
Mix the flour, the grappa and salt in a bowl, then add water till you obtain a medium-soft dough. Dice the Casera/Bitto in pieces of 2-centimetre sides, and dip them in the batter. Let it rest for two hours.
Take one cheese cube at time with a spoon, properly covered with the dough, and drop it in the boiling-hot oil, make the sciatt turn brown and drain them. Serve them on the finely-sliced chicory/salad dressed with oil, vinegar and salt.
These gnocchi have a particular flavour, the main ingredient is the potato, of course, but the other vegetables make them taste really savoury and hard wheat flour gives them a good consistency. The fonduta is simply gorgeous, especially if you savour it when hot and use bitto cheese.
Serves 2 – 3 people
Ingredients: 350gr (1.6cup -12.8oz) potatoes* – 100gr (½cup-3.5oz) carrots* – 30gr (0.125cup – 1oz) onion – 20gr (0.1cup – 0.8oz) celery – 150gr (0.7cup – 5.6oz) hard wheat flour – 1 egg yolk.
* without the skin
For the fonduta: 70gr (0.3cup – 2.4oz) bitto cheese – ½ glass of milk – 2tbs whipped cream.
Steam potatoes with carrots, onion and celery. Smash potatoes, then crush the other vegetables and mix all together. Cool down, add egg yolk and flour little by little. Knead and eventually add some more flour, till you’ll get a smooth and non-sticky dough. Take a small quantity and, on a floured surface, form a stick thick as a finger, and cut it into pieces of 2cm (0.8inch). After that, using a fork with the prongs facing upwards, press the fork down on to one side of each gnocco (singular of gnocchi) so that it leaves a row of ridges on each one (or you can use the appropriate tool). The ridges are there to absorb the sauce effectively. Place them on a floured tray and continue till you finish all the dough.
Now prapare the fonduta. Melt in a saucepan at very low heat bitto cheese cut into pieces with milk, stirring often. When done, add cream.
To cook the gnocchi, bring a large pan of water to a simmer, then add salt and drop the gnocchi. When they will start to float to the surface they’re ready. Remove them with a draining spoon and transfer them directly into the dishes. Pour the fonduta and serve immediately.
This traditional dish of the Valtellina is one of the most popular in all mountain locations in Lombardy. In addition, when served warm and stringy, it is ideal with sausages, cote chino (Italian pork sausage), mixed mushrooms and onions, depending on the recipes.
The peculiarity of the polenta Taranga, which makes it different from the other types of polenta, resides in the buckwheat: the traditional yellow flour is mixed to the brown buckwheat flour, creating a unique flavour. The polenta Taragna of the Valtellina, distinguishes itself for the cheese used: the Bitto and Casera.
250 g di butter, 100g di yellow flour, 500 g buckwheat flour, 250 g Bitto cheese, salt, water.
Pour about 2 litres of water into a pot and make it boil. Sprinkle the two types of flour, mixed beforehand, and cook, stirring for about an hour. Add crumbled butter and cook for 10 more minutes. Add the finely-sliced cheese and stir well for a couple of minutes, till the cheese melts. Then pour the polenta on the wooden chopping board and serve.
an hour and a half.