This week’s crowd-pleasing hearty recipe is based on a Neapolitan classic dish; PASTA with POTATO and SMOKY PROVOLONE CHEESE.
I cooked this for the first time last week, and I am wondering what I have been doing without this magnificent dish in my life.
From the first mouthful, I was head over heels in love.
Based on traditional ‘Cucina povera’ (poor man’s cooking), it’s made up humble ingredients; the best in ‘beige’ produce. Pasta, potato and cheese.
It’s so dreamy. The original recipe includes Italian smoky provolone cheese, but it can be substituted with another creamy smoky alternative. Also, you may opt for a vegetarian version, so leave the pancetta out.
The days are short and evenings are bitterly cold, that I can’t think of another appropriate dinner to be shared with others when you fancy something hearty, soul pleasing and deliciously cheesy.
Pasta with potato and smoky provolone cheese (4 people)
- I onion, finely diced
- 1 carrot, finely diced
- 1 celery, finely diced
- 50g pancetta, diced
- 500g white potato (i.e. Maris Piper), peeled and diced
- 8 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 300g small pasta, such as gnochetti sardi, pennette, mixed pasta
- 30g parmesan, grated
- Fresh basil leaves, rougly chopped
- 200g smoked provolone, or any other smoked cheese, grated
- Sea salt
- Ground black pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil
PASTA WITH POTATO AND SMOKY PROVOLONE CHEESE (4 PEOPLE)
- First, in a large pan, BOIL 2.5 -3 litres of salted water. Be generous with the salt as you want it to taste like the sea.
- Next, DRIZZLE olive oil in another pan. Fry the onion, carrot and celery on a low heat for 5 minutes. When the vegetables have softened slightly, ADD the pancetta, MIX together and cook for another 5 minutes.
- ADD diced potato, STIR well with the ingredients and ensure that the potato is well coated in oil.
- Next, MIX in the halved tomatoes and COOK everything together for 5 minutes.
- Now, POUR in enough of the salted boiling water so that it COVERS the potato generously. Bring it back to the BOIL, and SIMMER for 10 minutes or until the potato has softened. However, be careful to not overcook them at this stage.
- At this point, ADD the pasta. Make sure that pasta is well covered in water and COOK on a simmer as instructed on the packet. We don’t want it to dry out too much. We are looking for a CREAMY consistency, so add more water if necessary.
- Take the pan off the heat. Next, ADD the grated parmesan and basil. TASTE and SEASON with salt and pepper. Give it all a good STIR.
- Finally, SPRINKLE in the smoked provolone, STIR and SET ASIDE for 5 minutes. Then it’s ready to SERVE