OK as I’m in the French Alps I NEED Alpine food. It’s the law! I’m talking full on cheesy winter warming food here my friends. The sort of food that stokes and fuels you for cold winter days when hearty warming dishes are where’s it’s at.
The ingredients for today’s spectacular are regional, but don’t worry if you are in the middle of the Australian Outback or Arizona desert and you can’t buy Crozets, a wheat based small shaped and flat style pasta will work well. Reblechon a classic Savoyard cheese is traditional but if you are living in downtown Belarus or a suburb of Santiago and can’t get it don’t worry make the dish with a good Brie or Camembert they are great alternatives.
When I originally wrote this post I was coming to the end of my winter soujourn in the French Alps, tucked away in a teeny apartment, snug and warm, having recovered from a fractured shoulder and torn muscle sustained from a fall on the slopes earlier in the season. My all that seems so long ago doesn’t it. Let’s take care out there folks!
As I’m back skiing I need (read want) hearty mountain food and what better than a winter warmer with a vegetarian 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 how to use them. They are teeny-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? Whatever their history they are popular.
We have a weekly market here, 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 only 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 wheat, such as Les Crozets
- 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 50g brown mushrooms chopped (traditionally Lardons are used)
- 25 ml creme fraiche
- 250g or half a Reblochon cheese alternatively use Brie or Camembert
- 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, all washed down with a hearty red wine. Bon Appetit!