Comfort food from Valtellina: il Taròz


Yesterday 10°C and sunny – today 3°C and snow! I’m actually okay with this Jeckyll and Hyde weather because it means that we still get to chow down on simple fare like this: taròz. Made with ingredients most anyone can find in their pantry or freezer, I can’t get over the fact that in a decade of living here, this dish never crossed my palate until recently.

The word taròz is patois derived from “tarare”, or more accurately, girare or mescolare (to turn or mix). Boiled potatoes and beans (still hot) are mixed together until they form a somewhat mashed texture. Cubes of cheese are stirred in until melted into the mix. Lastly, chopped onions cooked in a generous amount of butter are added and the whole lot is seasoned with ground pepper and nutmeg. In other versions, some cooks also like to add chopped pancetta in with the onions. View this youtube clip to see how it’s made.


There aren’t exact measurements for this recipe. Judge amounts according to the number of servings that you need. For 2 people, I cut up and boiled 3 large potatoes and 3 handfuls of frozen beans (added a few minutes to the salted water before the potatoes were completely cooked through). I estimate about a cup of cheese (use a semi-soft cows milk type) and a half cup for onions (chopped or sliced). As for the BUTTER – using a lot of it way back then was probably necessary to sustain families through harsh winters. The original creators would most likely make fun of my couple of tablespoons plus an equal amount of olive oil.


Mix, mix, mix! And mix again.


Mix in the cheese (cut into small pieces or cubes) until melted. Add the onions cooked in butter. Season with ground black pepper and ground nutmeg. Serve with freshly grated or thinly shaved parmigiano.


14 thoughts on “Comfort food from Valtellina: il Taròz

  1. Pingback: 1st Sagra del galletto americano | Rubber Slippers In Italy

  2. Anonymous

    Yummmy. My friend whose parents were born in a small village above Tirano says that her mom used to make that all the time. She too, used butter. Those mountains in the Valtellina sure burn a lot of calories. It’s no wonder why their food is so rich and comforting:-)


  3. Anne

    Hi Rowena ..I cannot believe it either…just like cheesy mash but with onions and beans. If we have Mashed potatoes here , we use lots of butter too. I would also try with Olive Oil too. 🙂 ..great idea and as you say..great Winter comfort foods.


    1. Rowena Post author

      It’s just amazing how some foods are so confined to a particular province or area. Even my inlaws (near Milano) didn’t know about this dish when my husband mentioned it to them, and it’s less than 100km away.


    1. Rowena Post author

      I used the slim type (french haricot?) that the company Bonduelle puts out in the frozen section, but as long as they’re green beans, any type goes.



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