Potato and Tomato Bake (Patate e Pomodori al Forno), a combination of richness meets starchiness with a whole lot of flavor and texture, tipping the comfort scale in a big way!
Song of the day: "Smooth Operator" by Sade.
What do you get when you combine layers of roasted potatoes, layers of roasted caramelized onion, and rich ripe harvest tomatoes? The answer is this Potato and Tomato bake (Patate e Pomodori al Forno), delicious from the bottom to the crispy, cheesy top, a great comfort food dish that is substantial to combat those cold winter nights, and who will say no to a delicious roasted potato!
What is it about potatoes that make them so popular? Is it the fluffy and creaminess of them when boiled, mashed, whipped with butter, and seasoned well? Or is it the crispy texture that is achieved when you cut them in long fingers and deep fry them creating a crispy golden goodness with a wonderfully soft inside? Or maybe it is when you take them over the top and layer them with tomatoes, onions, and a fresh grating of Parmigiano Reggiano, and some fresh basil to bring a little joy to the dish, baking them to form layer upon layer of incredible texture and taste and call it a Potato and Tomato Bake (Patate e Pomodori al Forno).
I think you have caught on and figured out that I absolutely love potatoes. I have to add, in a very proud tone, that the tomatoes were from our garden, well my parents' garden that I planted and cared for. These beauties were picked a bit unripened and taken to a dark shelf in the basement to ripen. They are truly happy to be out and all crimson red, plump ready to fulfill their destiny!
Every once in a while I dust off one of the older cookbooks and look to see if anything inspires me. This is what I did the other day and boy was I glad I did it. The book is called "The Ultimate Italian Cookbook" by Carla Capalbo, published in 1994. I have really enjoyed doing some recipes from this book. This is where I found this recipe for the potato and tomato dish. It not only looks goods, it tastes amazing! It is from the southern region of Italy, a place I still have to visit, maybe next year, who knows.
Potato and Tomato Bake, let the layering begin!
The ingredients, a few potatoes thinly sliced, some cipolline onions cut into thin rounds, along with some homegrown tomatoes we had lingering and ripening, also sliced into rounds. Once all the veggies are cut, then the fun part begins: the layering. First layer onions, next layer potatoes, next another layer of onions, and finally the combination of potato and tomato slices slightly overlapping each other. To finish things off, some water to get that steam going underneath, a drizzle of olive oil and a nice grating of fresh Parmigiano. I also seasoned each layer with salt and pepper and placed the basil in between the tomatoes and potatoes and garnish the top with some also. Look at the beautiful color of this dish, doesn't it make you want some right away?
When this Potato and Tomato Bake (Patate e Pomodori al Forno) was baking in the oven, you could just smell the medley of basil, stewing tomatoes, and those onions caramelizing beautifully, creating a symphony of flavors. Also the goldening of the grated Parmigiano was giving off that roasted melted cheese aroma which was making my mouth water! Look at how nice and golden brown the top is, and those crispy potato edges. I can't wait any longer, I am going in!
I love that crunch sound as my fork goes into the top crust. The best part is that crust, so crispy and aged making my tastebuds and tongue sing in pure delight. The tomatoes are beautiful, soft and plump, full of that rich pulp and thick sauce. The onions are so caramelized releasing their juices and sugars only to be picked up by the potato and its tenderness. Combined with that unforgettable basil touch and my mouth is singing a mighty Alleluia!
The beginning of the week is underway and you are planning the week's meals, why not think of this Potato and Tomato Bake (Patate e Pomodori al Forno), give it a whirl you will be pleasantly surprised!
Song of the Day: "Smooth Operator" by Sade.Print
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