The potato is a most powerful plant. It can nourish. It can fatten. It has the power to create and satisfy cravings. It is delicious in so many preparations: fried, baked, roasted, mashed, diced, sliced, grated, whole or chips. I could go on. (But especially fried…)
This New World vegetable wasn’t even seen in Europe before the 16th century, and wasn’t widely eaten until 18th. And then the potato plague came, arriving in Ireland in 1845. Ironically the plague came from whence the potato came — the New World. The plague wiped out years of the crop, thereby causing The Great Potato Famine that sent 1 million Irishmen looking for a new life, ironically again, in the New World. Little could they foresee their good fortune: there they would meet Italian immigrants!
So the potato, and a shared Catholicism, brought these two peoples together, creating a new breed: the Italian-Irish-American hybrid. Yes, some noses got thinner noses and some hair got blonder. And yes, some people learned to cook! (I’m just saying.)
Today’s pasta with potato plays homage to this all-American combo, proving yet again the power of the potato.
p.s. Check out our wine pairings to complement this dish.Print
Sunday Pasta : Orecchiette con Patate (Potatoes)
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 4-6 1x
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 6 ounces pancetta, cut into small cubes (optional)
- 3 potatoes, cut into cubes
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- Salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 pound orecchiette (or other short pasta)
- Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, and when translucent, add the pancetta. Cook until light golden. Add the potatoes and mix together for about two minutes. Add the broth and cover. Cook for about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente (about 1 minute less than the package’s instructions). Drain the pasta, retaining 1 cup of its cooking water. Add the drained pasta to the potatoes and cook together over high heat for a few seconds, stirring frequently. Add some of the retained cooking water if it seems dry.
- Serve immediately along with a sprinkle of Parmigiano.