Pasta and potatoes or "pasta e patate" is a typical dish of the poor cuisine of Campania. You will love its unmistakable flavour, its creamy texture and intense aroma of basil.
Potatoes arrived in Italy around the 16th century and immediately adapted perfectly to the climate of the peninsula. They were easy to grow, energy-giving and cheap. These characteristics made potatoes a popular ingredient in Italian cuisine, especially among the lower classes of the population.
The secret of this pasta lies in its consistency. This has to be very creamy. In many Neapolitan trattorias, this dish is held askew when served. When cooked properly and with the perfect consistency, the dish does not move.
Noble use of leftovers
The Neapolitan people have always been able to create extraordinary dishes with few ingredients. Pasta and potatoes is one of them. Even the choice of pasta is a way to use leftovers. That is why traditionally only different types of pasta are part of this recipe.
The basic recipe is simpler than the one I suggest today. Pancetta, and provolone cheese provide an intense flavour and a delicious creamy texture but came later in the recipe.
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
- Fry the garlic in oil until hot. When the oil starts to become fragrant, remove the garlic. Now fry the chopped onion in the oil until translucent. Coarsely chop the potatoes and add to the onions.
- The potatoes should become soft but not fall apart during cooking. Add the bacon and fry for a few minutes. Halfway through cooking the potatoes, add the pasta to the water and cook until al dente.
- Add the tomatoes and the chopped basil to the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Dilute the sauce with 3 tablespoons of the pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta al dente and add to the sauce.
- Turn off the heat and add the provola cheese cut into small pieces. Stir the sauce and the pasta until the provola has melted and the consistency of the dish is creamy. Serve the pasta with plenty of Parmesan cheese, a little olive oil and black pepper.