|Pacific Northwest: Taste|
|3 pounds Yellow Finn, Yukon Gold or red potatoes
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups coarse homemade breadcrumbs (I make mine in the food processor from a few slices of Grand Central's Como, with the crusts, plus a clove or two of garlic)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/3 cup milk
1/4 pound soppressata (or any other spicy salami), sliced 1/8 inch thick and diced
1 1/3 cups frozen peas, defrosted; divided
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, drained and sliced 1 inch thick
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place potatoes in a large pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer 25 minutes or until a fork goes easily into the largest potato.
2. Meanwhile, brown the onion in a scant tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat, seasoning with salt and pepper. Remove the onions into a bowl. Add a bit more oil to the skillet and sauté the breadcrumbs, seasoning with salt and pepper, until lightly browned (5 to 10 minutes). Remove the breadcrumbs to a bowl.
3. Drain the potatoes and let cool 10 minutes.
4. Slice the butter into a large bowl. Using a paring knife or your fingers, peel the potatoes then put them into the bowl with the butter, Parmigiano, milk and salt and pepper to taste. Lightly mash the potatoes; they should be fairly lumpy. Stir in the soppressata and half the peas.
5. Oil an 8-inch square baking dish (Pyrex works well) and press half the potato mixture into the bottom. Top with the onions and remaining peas, then the mozzarella slices in a single layer.
6. Spread the rest of the potatoes on top and smooth with a spatula or the back of a large metal spoon. Bake 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with the breadcrumbs. Bake 10 minutes longer.
Adapted from "The Italian Country Table," by Lynne Rossetto Kasper
Note: For this recipe, it is easiest to buy your salami from a deli counter and have it sliced to order. Columbus brand soppressata is available at Larry's.
Serving suggestion: Serve hot with a simple steamed vegetable or contrastingly bitter salad green on the side, or serve the gatto in smaller portions as a side dish to chicken or fish. Of course, the gatto also makes a complete meal by itself with nothing more than a glass of wine, and that is how we usually enjoy it. With its abundance of wine-friendly tastes and textures, gatto goes well with a wide range of wines. Lynne Rossetto Kasper recommends a soft chenin blanc or a gutsy but non-oaky chardonnay. Mario Batali suggests a full-bodied Campanian red such as Taurasi. And I say you can never go wrong with dry German Riesling.