A few potatoes, Provolone cheese and pasta, that's all you need for pasta and potatoes. Campania's cuisine never ceases to amaze me with recipes that are as simple as they are tasty and which stem from the cooking traditions of ordinary people. Frugality meets ingenuity!
Neapolitan cuisine in particular is famous for creating extraordinary dishes from just a few ingredients. Pasta e patati is just one of them. It probably all started as a way of using leftovers. Typical of the dish is the use of different varieties of short pasta, often what was left over from the day before. Pancetta and Provolone cheese were likely added to the simple basic recipe later.
Stirring up the pasta
Like pasta, potatoes, which were introduced to Italy in the 16th century, soon became a staple food for the poorer population. And thus, this dish combines two main energy-giving ingredients at once. But its secret lies in its consistency: the Provolone is stirred in and melts. Perfectly made, the dish no longer moves, literally. This is demonstrated in trattorias by holding it at an angle when serving it.
Pasta and Potatoes
- 240 g pasta, mixed short
- olive oil, extra virgin
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 onion, white
- 3 potatoes, large, not new
- 100 g bacon
- 6 cherry tomatoes, for colour
- 5 leaves basil
- 200 g provola
- 1 handful parmesan, cheese
- black pepper
- In a large frying pan, fry the garlic in oil at a hot temperature. When the oil starts to become fragrant, remove the garlic. Now fry the finely chopped onion in the oil until translucent. Peel and chop the potatoes and fry them with the onions. The potatoes should soften but not fall apart. Add the diced bacon and fry.
- At the sametime, bring lightly salted pasta water to the boil. When the potatoes are halfcooked, add the pasta to the water and cook until al dente. Add the tomatoes (chopped if desired) and thechopped basil to the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add 3tablespoons of pasta cooking water.
- Strain the pasta and immediately add to the sauce. Turn off the heat and add the Provolone cheese cut into small pieces. Stir in the pan until the cheese has melted and the consistency of the dish is creamy. Serve the pasta e patati with plenty of Parmesan cheese, a little olive oil and black pepper.