Monday, February 26, 2007

Gato di Patate

This is originally an Anna del Conte recipe but has over the years become much bastardised by repeated experimentation. This is in anycase one of these Itlaian stables where every family has an opinion so you can find endless variations in cookbooks. The basic idea, however, is to make a Gato out of potato mash and cheese as brunch.

  1. Mealy potatoes (about 800 gr) boiled and pealed
  2. Olive oil
  3. Butter
  4. Milk
  5. 2 eggs & 1 egg yoke
  6. Grated Parmesan cheese (50 gr)
  7. Mozzarella cheese (sliced about 150 gr)
  8. Parma ham (or similar)
  9. Basil & Parsley (couple of tablespoons each)
  10. Grated nutmeg (optional)
  11. Salt and white pepper
The proportion of oil to butter to milk is just a case of personal preference. The original recipe does not call for olive oil but I prefer a little bit of it in the mix.

Melt the butter with the oil before adding the milk and bringing the whole thing to a simmer. Add the liquid to the potatoes while mashing them. Mix in the eggs, Parmesan and herbs; season to taste.

Butter an oven proof form and half fill it with the mash. Add the mozzarella and ham and cover with the rest of the mash. Bake in a preheated oven at 200 C for about 20 min. Let the gato sit for 10 min before serving.

It is very tempting to add loads of mozzarella at this point but it does not actually work; too much and the gato becomes soggy and overly rich. I use 125 gr mainly because that is the size they sell in Waitrose and find that it is just about the right amount. A little bit more is good but since that would involve opening another pack I never use more. The ham can be replaced by sausage or mortadella or just about any meat. I really like the parma ham.

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