Nonno's Pasta e Patate
This is another classic dish you just should not live without any time of year. It translates to a classic Italian potato soup and is quite delicious. This wonderful minestra is perfect after a long weekend of Holiday eating. You don't have to have very much fat in the pan to get good flavor. My grandfather's favorite dish. He believed in eating it at least once a week. He was from Taranto (Puglia), and retired from Italy's rail system, the Ferrovie. He was a tall, thin man, considering his starchy diet. He believed moderation was the key to a long life. He was correct.
This dish was a family staple especially when Nonno would visit on Friday nights. My mother always used white potatoes due to the fact that they break down very easily when cooked and could feed more than just a few people.
Today, this version utilizes small red potato's. I prefer to use red potatoes for many reasons. They tend to be less starchy, slightly sweeter when cooked and hold their shape so much better. In the end, your plate is full and you actually eat less. Although, I must admit, I had a second helping.
This is very rustic. Feel free to use white potato's if you like. It will not be pretty but it will still be delicious.
Ingredients: Serves 4/ 6 oz bowls
10-12 small/med red potato's
One large pasta pot to hold your soup
1/2 cup spanish onion diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon diced garlic/ or leave the clove whole and remove it before serving
4 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoons of pepper
one handful of parsely
One bay leaf (optional), remove before serving
1 cup of white wine
2 teaspoon of tomato paste
4 cups of water or vegetable broth if you have it on hand. We always used water.
Into a bowl, peel your potatoes. Set your potatoes into a bowl of cold water with one teaspoon of salt and let rest for about 10 minutes. (The salt will help expell the additonal dirt away from the potato while it's under water). Rinse and drain your potatoes and pat dry. Set aside.
You will see some dirty water after draining your potatoes.
Add your onion and garlic and saute until fragrant. Add your tomato paste and give it a stir for a few minutes. Add potato's and mix until heated. Add your salt, pepper and white wine. Turn the heat up and let reduce. Add your water to cover. Add approximately enough water to cover your potatoes by at least 2 inches. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and set your lid ajar. Let cook for 45 minutes.
There is no science to it. It doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to be good. Just a few minutes before your soup is done, drop in your pasta. You will only need about 4 ounces of pasta for this. It goes a long way. If you are like me, there is always a package with some left in the box to use. This is the perfect excuse. Cook until its done to your liking. Keep in mind, as the soup cools down, the pasta will continue to cook. Be sure and just pull it off the heat when the pasta is almost al dente.
A special note about using dried pasta: Please try to use a "Made in Italy" product.
Add some additional salt if needed. Let rest just a few minutes before serving. Buon Appetito!
I sprinkled a little red pepper on top for color and taste~Buon Appetito!