Friday, February 23, 2007

Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary – Patate Arrosto con Rosmarino

When cooking for a family or a large number of people the idea is to have several dishes that are easy to prepare and can be prepared in advance. Oven roasted potatoes are a favorite for homemakers across Italy. Local recipes will be a little different. In southern Italy the potatoes should be blanched before roasting while in northern Italy they will be cut and roasted immediately. Either way, family and guests alike always appreciate roasted potatoes. I have also found that I must double the quantity when making roasted potatoes otherwise someone will go away not satisfied.

The preparation is extremely simple and most of the work can be done several hours in advance. Another great thing about roasted potatoes is that they can be kept warm without becoming mush even if they are ready too early or dinner happens later than anticipated. Roasted potatoes are great with both meat and fish, rounding out just about any meal. I would stay away from the roasted potatoes when the dish has pasta or rice as a base ingredient otherwise they will go with just about anything. You can also experiment with other vegetables with the potatoes. Southern Italians will usually like to add cubed bell peppers, eggplant, zucchini, and/or olives.

For a Sunday family lunch or a dinner party that will have your guests thinking you went to culinary school, prepare these potatoes.

Ingredients for 4:

8 Medium sized white pulp potatoes (I use Idaho Russets)
¼ Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 twigs of fresh Rosemary
1 large or 2 medium cloves of Garlic

At least 3 hours before cooking pour the olive oil into a bowl. Add the garlic, rosemary, about ¼ teaspoon salt and six or seven grinds of pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature.

At least ½ before roasting, and this can be up to 3 hours earlier, peel the potatoes and cut into slightly larger than bite-sized cubes. I use about 1 inch cubes. Place the cubes in a colander and rinse several times. Pour the potatoes into a bowl and cover with cold water.

Preheat the oven to 375.

Drain the potatoes and pat dry with a kitchen towel (you should not use softeners on kitchen towels). On a baking pan spread the oil evenly. Distribute the potatoes in the pan. Leave the garlic whole and place in the pan. Turn the potatoes over to coat in the oil. Strip the needles from the rosemary and distribute evenly over the potatoes. Salt and pepper again.

Set the oven time to 50 minutes and place the potatoes in the oven. After 25 minutes remove the pan and turn over the potatoes. Cook the remaining 25 minutes. Keep warm until serving. When serving remove the garlic.


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