Simple dish, rich in flavour
Italy is rich in culinary traditions and pasta with potatoes is certainly one of the most popular recipes. This dish has got its roots in the past, it was created in Naples as a food accessible to everyone. We well know that Neapolitan people are master of creativity especially in cooking. The population was very poor, so some other ingredients were added to the dish, like tomatoes discarded by wealthy people.
The Pasta Mista (mixed pasta or as people say in Naples “a pasta mmiscata”), was what remained taken from ports or from pasta factories, leftovers that needy people collected in the containers of the workshops and in the home pantries.
There aren’t any precise dates of the origin of this recipe, but there are some traces in the manuscript “Il cuoco galante” by Vincenzo Corrado in 1773. It is certain that the recipe has spread all over the country, becoming a classic example of the national peasant cuisine.
Over the years the preparation of pasta with potatoes has become a family tradition passed down from mother to children. Someone revisits it over time, there are people who add a special ingredient and others who adopt a different cooking method.
Its broth with its more watery consistency gains everyone’s approval, even whose who follow a vegetarian diet because it is prepared using seasonal vegetables.
Rich in mineral salts important for our body, pasta with potatoes is a healthy and low-fat food.
A dish rich in flavour, characterized by its delicate taste and creamy consistency due to the presence of starch in potatoes which play a role of natural thickening agent.
Let’s find out how pasta with potatoes gains special notes and flavours according to the places where it is prepared.
The territory describes the tradition
Italian cuisine is recognized all over the world and every single place is characterized by its raw materials present in a specific area.
In Apulia, the ingredient added to pasta with potatoes is represented by mussels thanks to the sea: their savory flavour goes perfectly with the sweetness of potatoes.
In Calabria, pasta with potatoes is characterized by a specific cooking method. This recipe provides that all the ingredients are put in the oven as they are. You will think that this kind of recipe is not so simple, but you are wrong: you need just a few steps and your dish will be ready!
In the Roman version two typical ingredients of our beautiful capital could not be missed: pork cheek and Pecorino Romano cheese. The preparation of the Roman recipe involves cooking in a ceramic bowl to preserve the fragrance and the flavour giving it a more decisive taste.
Pasta, potatoes and Provola cheese: a typical Neapolitan recipe
We of Antonio Amato who follow our traditions of Campania, we could only repeat the Neapolitan version of pasta with potatoes. The preparation is quite simple: the Neapolitan recipe includes tomatoes, smoked Provola cheese and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese in addition to the traditional ingredients: perfect to stir well together and make the dish more creamy and fragrant.
Mixed pasta should be used according to the tradition, a choice dictated by the original need to “throw anything away in the kitchen”. However today this shape of pasta is chosen thanks to its ability to better blending with the consistency of the potatoes.
Now, let’s start cooking!
700 g potatoes
250 g smoked Provola cheese
70 g grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
100 g cherry tomatoes
white wine to taste
salt to taste
pepper to taste
Peel the potatoes, wash them and remove any rotten parts using a sharp knife, cut them irregularly and soak them in cold water until ready to cook. In the meanwhile, cut the Provola cheese into small pieces and the cherry tomatoes into wedges.
Fry Extra Virgin Olive Oil EVO and onion in a saucepan. As soon as the onion turns golden, add the potatoes previously cut, cook for a few minutes making sure that there is nothing stuck to the pot bottom.
When the potatoes are half cooked, add the chopped cherry tomatoes used only to give a little bit of colour to the dish, salt, pepper, a splash of white wine and continue cooking by stirring.
When the potatoes are cooked, bring the water to a boil and cook our Antonio Amato Pasta Mista.
The secret of a perfect creaming is in the preparation: you constantly should mix the pasta and add the Provola cheese and grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese halfway through cooking. Serve and pour a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil EVO.
Enjoy your dish!
Chef Pasquale Torrente's recipe
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