For some reason, we don't associate potatoes with Italian cooking, but in fact Italy's potato dishes are excellent. The potatoes are roasted with whole garlic cloves, fresh sage leaves and olive oil until they are crusty and brown on the outside and tender on the inside.
The secret to success with these potatoes is to pat them dry before putting them in the pan and to use a large roasting pan, or two pans if you don't have one large enough, so that the potato pieces are all separate and can brown without steaming.
- 3 pounds new potatoes, scrubbed and halved or quartered, depending on size
- 1 head garlic, separated into cloves but not peeled
- 12 leaves sage leaves
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Pat the potato pieces dry. In a baking pan large enough to hold the potatoes in a single layer, combine the potatoes with the unpeeled garlic, sage, oil and salt and pepper to taste. Stir well to coat the potatoes evenly. Roast, stirring every 15 minutes, until the potatoes become tender and browned, about 1 hour. Serve hot.
Adapted from Michele Scicolone, author of "A Fresh Taste of Italy" (Broadway Books, 1997).
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