We’re having an exceptionally hot and dry summer this year with day temperatures easily hitting up to 35°C, so standing in front of a stove to cook up a proper meal feels like an impossible task these days. But in Korea where I grew up, there is an old saying “fight the heat with heat” and during the peak of the hot and humid summer days is when Koreans enjoy the hot ginseng chicken soup the most. Eating the hot soup makes you sweat out the toxins from your body and helps blood circulation. To make it even hotter, they serve it in a hot stone pot!
So following this spirit, to celebrate the Swiss National Day on Aug 1st, we made Pizokel at home, a rustic pasta that originates from Canton Graubünden which is similar to the Spätzle noodles. It’s actually a winter dish so a bit heavy for hot summer days but nevertheless delicious! It’s quite easy to make; the dough doesn’t need kneading nor much effort, can be served with a creamy cheese sauce or just pan fried with some onion and bacon pieces. Recipe is not complicated but you need to have at least 1 hour for cooking due to the dough resting time. 
This recipe was requested by Katherine from California who visited our Cheese Master Class in April. Katherine I hope you enjoy it! 🙂
 
Pizokel and mushrooms, served with cream sauce
ingredients for 2 people, duration 1hr
<For Pizokel dough>
  • 2 eggs
  • 125g quark (You can replace with fromage blanc or greek yogurt)
  • 3 Tbsp milk (or water)
  • 140g flour (wheat flour or buckwheat flour or half-half. I like to mix half-half because i want the chewiness from the wheat gluten and the taste of the buckwheat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • some black pepper and ground nutmeg 
  • small cutting board that you can easily lift up with one hand
  • scraper or spatula
<For the creamy cheese sauce>
  • Handful of mushrooms of your choice (Swiss brown or Porcini), sliced
  • 1/2 mid size onion or one shallot, chopped
  • 2-3 Tbsp of chopped bacon (can omit)
  • 100ml Cream + 100ml Milk
  • 50g grated sharp hard cheese like Gruyere, Appenzeller, Tilsiter, Comte etc (dont use mozarella or dry cheese like aged parmagiano)
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • Olive oil or other vegetable oil for cooking
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley and cherry tomato for garnish
Pizokel dough is ready to be cut and scraped into the boiling salted water
A. Prepare the dough
Combine all the dough ingredients above in a bowl so that they are integrated in one shiny mass. If the mass does not combine well because your flour is too dry, add more milk (or water) to bind. Cover the bowl and let sit in room temperature for 30min. The dough will soak in the moisture from the eggs, quark, milk and develop gluten during its rest.
B. Cook the dough
Boil hot water in a pot with salt, like you’d boil pasta (salt amount is usually 10% of the water amount). Move your Pizokel dough onto a chopping board. When the watere boils, lift up the chopping board with one hand and with your other hand, scrape the dough (bite-size amount) into the boiling water using a dough scraper or spatula. Let boil until it floats up to the surface. When the dough floats up, fish them out using a pasta sieve and set them aside.
C. Making the sauce
  1. Drizzle 2 table spoons of olive oil in a frying pan on medium-high heat and cook the chopped onion and bacon until onions turn transparent. Add in the butter, the sliced mushroom and the Pizokel noodles and fry until they are slightly browned.
  2. Turn the heat to medium. Add in the cream, milk, and the grated cheese to the pan and stir until the cheese melts and sauce thickens. When the sauce binds, turn off the heat. Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper to taste. (Optional: You can also enjoy Pizokel without the cream sauce. Just omit this part)
  3. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and cherry tomato and serve.