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Patate Maritate With Pecorino Fresco

Patate Maritate With Pecorino Fresco 12.000

Domenica Marchetti

Say Cheese Jan 19, 2010

This hearty winter dish, which translates to "married potatoes" (though I'm not sure why), is a specialty of Italy's rugged, mountainous region of Abruzzo. There, it is traditionally made with scamorza, which is essentially a firm mozzarella. Because good scamorza is hard to find here, I've substituted pecorino fresco, which has a similar texture and mild flavor. In a pinch, you can use a good-quality supermarket-style mozzarella, which melts well.

No doubt you will balk at the amount of oil the recipe calls for. I did. But Laura Decina, the Abruzzese chef who shared her recipe with me, says the oil performs two vital functions: It roasts the potatoes to buttery tenderness without drying them out, and it achieves a perfectly crisped, golden-brown bread crumb topping.

Here, I've given a range so you can use less oil. You also can drain the oil that remains in the pan once the potatoes are baked; that's what I usually do. This is a great party dish, as it can be assembled in advance and feeds a lot of people. But the recipe can be cut in half easily.


Servings: 12
Ingredients
  • 4 cups fresh plain bread crumbs (see NOTE)
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, lightly crushed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Whole leaves from 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley (1 cup)
  • 3 pounds potatoes, such as Yukon Gold (preferably older potatoes)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil (see headnote)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup olive oil (not extra-virgin)
  • 1 pound pecorino fresco, scamorza or supermarket mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Have a 9-by-13-inch baking pan at hand.

Combine the bread crumbs, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, a generous grind of pepper and the parsley in a medium bowl and toss to incorporate. Let the mixture sit while you prepare the potatoes.

Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

Combine the oils in a large liquid measuring cup.

Pour half the mixed oils into a large baking pan. Arrange one layer of potatoes in the bottom. Sprinkle them with a third of the remaining teaspoon of salt.

Remove the garlic from the bread crumbs (reserve for another use, if desired).

Scatter one-third of the bread-crumb mixture over the potatoes. Sprinkle with a third of the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Top with half of the pecorino fresco. Arrange a second layer of potatoes over the pecorino; sprinkle with a third of the remaining salt. Top with a third of the bread-crumb mixture, a third of the Parmigiano-Reggiano and the remaining pecorino fresco. Make a third layer of potatoes; sprinkle with the remaining 1/3 teaspoon of salt. Top with the remaining bread-crumb mixture and the remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano. Drizzle the remaining oil mixture over the potatoes.

Bake uncovered for 1 1/2 hours, or until the potatoes are very tender and the bread crumb topping is a deep golden-brown. Let it sit for 5 minutes.

At this point, you can drain some of the oil by carefully tipping the pan. Cut the potatoes into wedges and serve immediately.

NOTE: To make fresh bread crumbs, trim the crust off a one-pound oaf of country or peasant-style bread. Break the interior of the loaf into large chunks. Working in 2 batches, place them in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the bread chunks have broken into small crumbs.


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Recipe Source

Adapted from chef Laura Decina of Ristorante Plistia in Abruzzo, Italy.

Tested by Domenica Marchetti.

E-mail questions to the Food Section.

E-mail questions to the Food Section at food@washpost.com.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (with 3/4 cup oil): 360


% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 23g 35%

Saturated Fat: 7g 35%

Cholesterol: 26mg 9%

Sodium: 774mg 32%

Total Carbohydrates: 26g 9%

Dietary Fiber: 3g 12%

Sugar: 3g

Protein: 14g


*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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