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Nonna's Potatoes

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February 5, 2017 / Italian / By
Anna

My Italian daughter-in-law Stephanie swears that her nonna (granny) would make this particular vegetable dish for lunch everyday if no one else stepped in to cook first. I know that her aunt hates cooking, so she probably remembers having this many times in the summers when she stayed with nonna.

The potato crop, May 2016; we're still eating them, though I won't pretend they're as fresh and crisp as they were when freshly dug.

We have had a particularly good year for potatoes this year, and I feel sure Stephanie wanted to add some variety to the rather ubiquitous boiled potatoes dressed with olive oil that had been served numerous times this summer. I had been serving potatoes a lot but we have cotton bags of potatoes (see header pic) stacked all over the house, it was necessary. And don’t get me wrong – freshly dug new potatoes, quickly boiled and served with fresh olive oil and salt is a joy; one I don’t tire of.

Stephanie is a very petite young woman so it was very entertaining to watch her making this dish as she chose the largest saucepan in the arsenal, the one I use exclusively to make passatta. It is so big and she so small that it is quite comic to watch her wrestle with it. This saucepan is a new addition to the house, and I swear I saw her eyes light up when she spotted it. Apparently, she has the exact same one at home and uses it all the time. Unfortunately, I did not have the foresight to take a photo so you will just have to take my word for it.

I have not been strict about quantities as it is not that sort of dish. Just use what you have to make the quantity you need.

Nonna's Potatoes

Ingredients

  • new potatoes
  • a couple of onions
  • garlic
  • sliced zucchini
  • rosemary (fresh, if you have it; dried is OK if not) or thyme
  • olive oil
  • salt to taste

In a large saucepan, gently cook one or two thinly sliced onions and two cloves of smashed garlic in oil.

Thinly slice potatoes into rounds and add to the onion/garlic mix along with extra oil. About 9 potatoes feed four people. Add a large sprig of fresh rosemary and plenty of salt and pepper. Italian cooks salt their food well during the cooking process making the decision on saltiness for the diners. This has been hard for me to get used to as I tend to under salt, but this dish is best if well salted. If you do not have fresh rosemary use thyme instead as dried rosemary just does not have enough flavor. Stir frequently to avoid burning but a little crispiness is good.

Thinly slice rounds of zucchini and add these to the mix when the potatoes are soft but not quite ready. I like to time it so that the zucchini retain some crunch in contrast to the soft, oily potatoes.

Pile the oily delicious potatoes on to plates and serve with a salad of chopped tomatoes and cucumbers. This is a perfect summer meal in our house as it uses the vegetables that are available in abundance in the garden and provides the rosemary/potato flavor we all love so much without having to use the oven. I put a ban on oven use once the temperatures are consistently above 30° C. It just makes the house too hot.

We did have a severe storm that lasted all night and most of the next day recently, so I relented and allowed the use of the oven for that day only and the two dishes requested were roast potatoes and apple pie. Perfect for a cook burdened with potatoes and apples.

 

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Country: Italy

Province/State: Umbria

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