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Pizzoccheri Gratin

This soul-satisfying comfort food ─ which stems from Trentino, a beautiful mountainous region in Italy ─ is based on pantry staples (and kids’ favorites) such as cheese, potatoes, and pasta. The cheese choice is entirely yours, but the chef recommends using fontina, Brie, buffalo mozzarella, or other stretchy, ooey gooey cheese.

Ingredients | Yield: 4 servings

  • ½ cup salted butter
  • ½ teaspoon toasted caraway seeds, cracked
  • ½ teaspoon poppy seeds, cracked
  • 3 or 4 sprigs of sage
  • 1 russet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 pound large, flat buckwheat noodles or whole wheat noodles
  • ½ head napa cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup grated fontina cheese, divided
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Oil
  • ½ cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup toasted bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped


  • Medium saucepan
  • Large saucepan
  • Large bowl
  • 9×13-in. baking dish or oven-safe pan


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (or gas mark 4).

2. In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Add the caraway seeds, poppy seeds, and sage. Sauté until the butter is nut brown, 15 to 20 seconds.

3. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the potatoes; cook for 7 minutes. Remove the potatoes. Add the noodles; cook until barely softened, about 5 minutes. Remove the noodles. Add the cabbage; cook for 4 minutes. Remove the cabbage.

4. In the large bowl, combine the still-warm potatoes, noodles, and cabbage with the butter mixture and all but 2 tablespoons each of the Parmesan and fontina cheeses. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Transfer the noodle mixture to a large baking dish (greased with oil of choice); add the vegetable broth. Top with the remaining 2 tablespoons each of cheeses and the bread crumbs. Bake until golden brown, about 35 minutes. Garnish with the chopped parsley.


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