Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Pasta e Patate

Another day, another pasta dish. You can't beat the ease of preparation when it comes to Italian cooking (usually). Tonight's recipe comes from David Rocco's Dolce Vita on Food Network Canada.

"Pasta e Patate" is a traditional recipe from Naples. It's a very rustic dish that can be served as a soup or pasta dish (by simmering and reducing the broth). It's a very interesting dish. Pasta and potatoes? How odd. But the starch from the pasta and the starch from the potatoes come together to make such a rich, creamy sauce... it's almost like a risotto of the pasta world. It would probably be delicious with some chorizo and diced plum tomatoes. A sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley wouldn't hurt either. You could skip the prosciutto for a vegetarian dish but... I wouldn't. :)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
4-5 slices prosciutto or pancetta, chopped
1 white onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 fresh chili pepper, chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups small pasta or broken spaghetti
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 cup pecorino romano cheese, chopped fine
1/2 cup parmigiano cheese, freshly grated

1. Heat EVOO in a large sauce pan. Add proscitto and cook until crisp.

2. Add onion, celery, carrot, chili pepper, salt and pepper. Saute until onions are soft.

3. Add potatoes. Let saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring often to prevent the potatoes from sticking.

4. Add water, tomato sauce and Italian seasoning. Stir then add pasta. Mix together well. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Add a little more water, 1/2 cup at a time, as the pasta and potatoes absorb the liquids.

5. Add pecorino cheese. Cook for a few more minutes until cheese has softened and sauce is thickened and creamy. If you would prefer a soup, add more water.

6. Spoon into serving bowls. Drizzle with good quality olive oil and sprinkle with fresh grated parmigiano cheese. Let cool before serving. (David Rocco says it is best at room temperature. I find it too good to let it sit long enough to find out if he's right!)

I served this with a side salad, fresh garlic rubbed toast and a glass of milk, although a dry red would be nice too.

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