Spring is springing in the French Alps, the days are longer, beautiful bright blue skies, and warm 15 to 18 degrees, you can sit out on the terraces in just a t-shirt (if you are brave) or like me in a t-shirt and jumper. The sun is getting warmer and stronger, it feels good. There’s still plenty of skiing to be had, it’s been a fantastic winter in the French Alps with plenty of snow and cold weather in early winter to keep the pistes in perfect condition.
As I’m back skiing we need (read want) food that is tasty and hearty and today’s dinner is exactly that – hearty mountain food, a twist on an Alpine favourite.
Tartiflette is a popular Alpine dish – a classic of Reblochon cheese, potatoes and cream. I made a vegetarian version earlier in the season and have planned todays dish ever since. I’ve always seen Crozets in the shops and wondered ho wto use them, they are tiny pasta squares. I don’t know their history for certain – maybe a link in the past to the former rulers of the Savoie – the Savoy Princes and the Italian culture and connections or maybe more recent than that. Whatever their history they are popular.
A couple of weeks ago I popped to the local weekly market – a mix of fruit and veg stalls, sellers of honey, cakes, nougat, household goods, and mountains of meats and cheeses. I buy cheese from local producers, and Reblochon features heavily, this cheese originates a few miles from us.
And this cheese has sat in our fridge ever since, waiting for its big moment.
The quality of this Reblochon is superb, we’ve nibbled on a few pieces and it’s delectable – rich and creamy. And the beauty of both Tartiflette and Croziflette is that the rind is used – that’s where all the flavour is.
READER WARNING – If you are on a diet, not taking much exercise and care, I’d look away now, this recipe calls for half a Reblochon, and a heap of creme fraiche. See I told you to look away. If on the other hand you don’t care, or are planning on ending your diet, bookmark the recipe.
– for 2 to 3 servings
- 110g pasta – short cut, such as Les Crozets
- 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 50g brown mushrooms – chopped or Lardons
- 25 ml creme fraiche
- 250g or half a Reblochon cheese
- A dash of white wine – optional
- Salt and Pepper to season
- Cook the pasta in boiling water for 10 minutes, drain and set aside
- In a large pan, gently saute the onions, garlic and mushrooms (or lardons if using) until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms are cooked.
- I added a splash of white wine at this point to help get the moisture out of the mushrooms.
- When the vegetables are cooked, turn the heat off and add the pasta and the creme fraiche and combine all the ingredients and then pour the mix into a baking dish.
- On a chopping board cut the Reblochon in half, and the slice the rind off both sides, make the slices fairly thin and put them to one side. Now cut the remaining cheese (the bit without the rind) into small chunks and add it to the pasta, mix it in well.
- Season with salt and pepper
- Use the slices of the Reblochon rind to cover the pasta, you can cut them into strips.
- Place in a hot oven (Gas 6 / 200 degrees) for approx 20 minutes or until the cheese on top is browned and bubbly.
We ate this with a green salad and a dish of buttered green beans, and washed it down with a hearty red wine.