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Pasta e Patate (pasta and potato)

Pasta e Patate - a quick midweek mealPasta e Patate is a recipe from a dear friend of mine.  I met Francesca in Singapore back in 2001.  I had heard glowing accounts of her Italian cooking classes and was eager to meet this culinary wizard.

  Francesca did not disappoint.  Her kitchen was light and airy and her cheery disposition made all who attended her class very welcome. 

Her classes all began with a history lesson about the region the dish came from, its importance and how it evolved, (if any) from then until now.  Francesca’s obvious passionate interest in Italian food history and food traditions of her country, made her classes a treat to attend.  I would always learn something interesting and new.  If you think you own a lot of cookbooks, you haven’t seen Francesca’s collection – over 1,000!  In 2004 her first cookbook, Pasta in a Wok, was published.  A book full of her recipes that are easy to make, delicious, and ready in 15 to 20 minutes.  She begins each recipe with a short story or history lesson preparing the reader for the dish.  I especially like the message before the spaghetti alla chitarra con le vongole recipe:

Mamma is a very good cook, but don’t ask her for recipes because she never weighs anything and will answer any request for clarification with a meaningless “what’s needed” or “just enough”.

Although the following recipe does include measurements, it is a forgiving one where you can’t really mess it up – do ‘what’s needed’ – and be a bit like Mamma.  Buon Appetito!


Serves 4
400g short pasta such as tubetti (I used De Cecco mezzi tubetti no. 63)
500g potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1/4 cup olive oil
100g tomato purée (or use 2 to 3 tablespoons Italian concentrated tomato paste)
chicken broth
Parmigiano or Pecorino, grated

In a large pot over medium-high heat add olive oil. Add onion, celery, and carrot. Cook until vegetables are tender then add tomato purée. Stir to combine and cook a few minutes then add potatoes. Stir and then add chicken broth – enough to cover and bring to a boil. Add pasta, cover, and cook according to packet instructions. Serve with grated cheese.

pasta e patate ingredients

My copy of Francesca’s cookbook has a short note written on the inside page and is a gentle and fond reminder of my time spent with her:  “I’m sure that you will enjoy cooking pasta for your friends and family and I will be with you, always, in your kitchen!” 

The Culinary Chase’s Note: Make sure the veggies are of similar size to ensure even cooking. I had 3 leeks in the fridge and used that in lieu of onions. When adding the pasta, make sure there’s enough broth to cover.  This dish should not be dry but slightly moist.  Enjoy!

The post Pasta e Patate (pasta and potato) appeared first on The Culinary Chase.

About Heather Chase

The Culinary Chase was coined by my husband whilst in a coffee shop in Hong Kong back in 2006. We wanted something that would be a play on my last name and by the time we finished our coffee, the name was born. As long as I can remember I’ve enjoyed cooking. It wasn’t until we moved to Asia that I began to experiment using herbs and spices in my everyday cooking. Not only do they enhance the flavor of food but also heighten it nutritionally. Over the years, I began to change our diet to include more vegetables, pulses, whole grains and less red meat. Don’t get me wrong, we love our meat, just not in super-size portions (too hard for the body to digest). I always use the palm of my hand as a guide to portion control when eating red meat. If the meat is larger than my hand, I save that portion for another day. Also, if the veggies on your plate look colorful (think the colors of the rainbow) – red, green, yellow, orange etc. then you’re most likely getting the right amount of nutrients per meal. I post recipes that I think help maintain a healthy body. I use the 80/20 rule – 80% of the time I make a conscious effort to eat healthy and 20% for when I want french fries with gravy (poutine). Balance is the key and to enjoy life with whatever comes my way. Thanks for visiting!


The views and opinions expressed in this content are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of haligonia.ca.


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