The Friulan twist to Italian maltagliati
Here we go again, you invited your relatives to dinner and you don’t know what to cook. You want a simple and tasty recipe that will impress everyone. You keep scrolling online but you still haven’t found the right advice for the first course that will conquer everyone. Don’t worry, as we say in Friuli, “cumbinin”. Here is an easy recipe for you: Blecs with Refosco and Cheek lard.
Keep reading the article and prepare them with me.
When it comes to first courses recipes, we Italians are pretty basic. We cook pasta. Oftentimes we make pasta ourselves. Tagliatelle, ravioli or… maltagliati.
Of all types of fresh pasta, the latter is probably the easiest one to make. You just need to roll the dough with the pasta rolling machine and create uneven triangles of pasta. In Friuli Venezia Giulia we call this type of pasta blecs.
What does the word blec mean?
Let’s start from the beginning. The word blec means “patch” or “piece”. In fact, this type of fresh pasta, similar to maltagliati, once cooked, resembles a piece of cloth.
How to prepare blecs?
The traditional recipe for blecs features a dough made with buckwheat flour, butter, and eggs. These “neutral” ingredients offer infinite possibilities for more or less elaborate seasoning. The most classic seasoning for blecs is melted butter, sage, and a generous grating of Montasio. Oftentimes, however, they are also served with sausage, mushroom, pumpkin, and game sauces.
Whatever their seasoning, I assure you it will be nice and substantial, which makes this traditional dish from Friuli Venezia Giulia perfect for the winter season.
Blecs with Refosco and cheek lard
The sauce with Refosco and Guanciale is not the most traditional one for blecs but it is certainly among those that best represent the Friulian spirit. The cubes of cheek lard, which here we call frices, melt in the Refosco until they get a ragù-like consistency and an autumnal must color.
The cheek lard spices and the robust taste of the Refosco give life to a first course that has the flavor of winter evenings in a Friulian tavern, where cards are played next to the fireplace.
It was precisely a tavern, Osteria “Al Grop” in Tavagnacco that inspired us for this recipe.
How long does it take to prepare Blecs with Refosco and Cheek Lard?
Good things take time. If you’re looking for a quick recipe, keep this idea for another time. In fact, know that it takes at least two hours to prepare Blecs with Refosco and cheek lard. This amount of time is needed to reduce the wine. But don’t worry, once you have basted the sauce you can forget it on the stove, stirring only occasionally. The time for making blecs obviously depends on your mastery with fresh pasta.
Ingredients for 4 people
For the blecs
- 450 g of flour 00
- 50 g of buckwheat flour
- 4 eggs
- 50 g of butter
For the Refosco and cheek lard sauce
- 250 gr of cheek lard
- 1 bottle of Refosco
- 1 carrot and a half
- 1 stick of celery
- 1 onion
- 2 tablespoons of flour
- A knob of butter
- Salt and Pepper To Taste
Optional: seasoned Montasio for seasoning
First, take care of the sauce. Wash the celery, carrots, and onion and fry them in a fairly large pan with a knob of butter. When they are well browned, add the diced cheek lard.
Let it brown well and then add a couple of tablespoons of white flour. When it is well congealed around the cheek lard add the wine all at once.
Stir, cover with the lid and let it go for about two hours. After this time, the cheek lard will have practically melted, and the wine dried. You will get a thick sauce, similar to the meat sauce.
Mentre il sugo si cucina, prepara i blecs. In una ciotola mescola le due farine e poi, su una spianatoia, crea una fontana. Al centro versa le uova precedentemente sbattute e il burro morbido. Impasta fino ad ottenere un panetto liscio. Lascia riposare a temperatura ambiente per circa 30 minuti.
While the sauce is cooking, prepare the blecs. In a bowl, mix the two flours and then, on a pastry board, create a fountain. In the center, pour the previously beaten eggs and soft butter. Knead until you get a smooth dough. Let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, it’s time to roll the dough. Take small pieces of dough and pass them in the pasta rolling machine until you get thin strips. Cut the strips roughly and create uneven triangles.
If you have any pasta leftovers, you can store them in the freezer wrapped in plastic.
When the sauce has finished cooking, bring the water to a boil. Pour the salt and then, slowly, the blecs. If you roll the pasta thin, it will take very little time to cook, about a couple of minutes. To be safe, I suggest you taste the blecs.
Once cooked, pour them into the sauce, stir and serve them hot. If you want, you can grate a little seasoned Montasio on top. In our opinion, they are already very tasty without adding anything else.