You should have seen the look in my trainer’s eyes when I told him I had made this classic Italian dish. He said: “Pasta AND potatoes? In the same dish? And you ate it?”
I know, the two forbidden foods in the same bowl. Imagine how much trouble we would be in right now if Eve had served this to Adam.
If you ever wanted to commit carbicide, here is how to do it and do it well. If you have a reasonable portion of pasta, or the same amount of pasta and potatoes, I don’t see a big difference. I usually make this dish once or twice a year, and all in moderation cannot be bad for you. The only problem with pasta e patate, is to limit yourself to just one serving. It is simply that good.
Use a combination of pasta for this dish. Take your almost empty boxes of rigatoni, macaroni, bow ties or even spaghetti (broken up) and throw them all in, leaving room in your cupboard.
Whatever you do, don’t tell your trainer you ate this or be prepared to work harder that day.
1/4 cup olive oil
75 grams pancetta, finely diced (optional)
1 pinch red hot pepper flakes
1 onion, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup dry white wine
6 to 8 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
3 to 4 medium size potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-2 cm cubes
about 450 g pasta, different shapes
1 cup parmesan, grated
1 cup pecorino, grated
salt and pepper to taste
extra-virgin olive oil
fresh basil, torn
mozzarella, scarmoza or caciocavallo cheese, cubed
1. In a large pot over medium heat, cook the pancetta (if using), onion, celery and carrot until soft, about 5-7 minutes.
2. Add the tomato paste and stir to cook the tomato paste a bit.
3. Add the white wine and let simmer until it has reduced by half.
4. Add the broth, bay leaf and the potatoes and cover. Cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
5. Remove the lid. With a handheld blender, purée the mixture lightly, leaving some texture, or use a potato masher.
6. Add the pasta and stir. Cook, uncovered, until the pasta is al dente. You may want to add the pasta at different times, depending on how long each one cooks.
7. When the pasta seems cooked, turn the heat off, add the cheeses and stir.
8. Serve in individual bowls, with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, torn basil leaves and cubes of caciocavallo or some other cheese and a nice grinding of pepper.