You say ‘potato’, I say ‘patata’ – Tortino di Patate, Prosciutto e Mozzarella

Go on, if you have a moment, click on the link below, featuring Fred Astaire and Ginger Astaire singing a famous Gershwin song — but let’s not do as its title suggests … which is : Let’s call it off.

Speaking for myself, I would never ever ‘call off’ the humble potato so I am always amazed at the amount of people who just don’t see the point of a potato, denigrating this marvellous tuber as a ‘senseless’ vegetable.  Life without potatoes would be very sad for me, I even like them plain, just boiled with a bit of olive oil or butter over them.  I reckon Ernest Heminway had a lot to do with people (especially women) fearing potatoes as the most calory-laden food out there.  His heroine Maria in “For Whom the Bell Tolls” speaks out against the fattening danger of potatoes.  Heminway’s novel was a best seller so I am sure a lot of readers were swayed by this nonsense.  Here’s an article that values the health-promoting properties of potatoes :

and here is another:

It might surprise readers who do not speak Italian that in Italy the common potato is associated with … ahem … er …. the vagina, in child-speak.  A little boy’s attribute is known as ‘the little pea’ (il pisellino) and a little girl’s, instead, is a little potato (la patatina).  It can also be a little butterfly (la farfallina).  Talk about birds and bees!!!

So … today’s recipe from my home food selection is a potato cake stuffed with ham and mozzarella.  I dare anyone to tell me it’s not tasty!

Ingredients: potatoes, milk, grated parmesan, eggs, nutmeg, ham, mozzarella, breadcrumbs and butter.


The potatoes need to be mashed, so start by boiling them.

Turn the oven on at 200°C.

Cut or rip your mozzarella into shreds and place them in a colander so that they can ‘drip’ some of their excess liquid away.  The mozzarella will cook with the potato cake and if it is too ‘moist’ it will ruin the texture.  Meanwhile:

018Grate the parmesan (about 1 tablespoon per person) and put it in a bowl together with a twist of nutmeg and some salt and pepper.

019A couple of egg yolks …020Put some milk and butter in a pan that will be hosting the potatoes …
021022Mash the potatoes and combine properly with the milk and butter, sprinkle some salt too and set aside to cool a little.023Butter a baking tray and then sprinkle some breadcrumbs over it.
024Mix the mashed potatoes with the eggs and parmesan … taste and make sure it’s okay for salt.  Potatoes like their salt.025Then spread one layer of the potato mix over the bottom of the baking dish.026Chop some ham.027And spread the ham on top of the potato layer.028Add shreds of mozzarella on top of that.029Use the remaining potato mix to add a final layer and cover everything up.
030Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top.031What you see above is the remains of a sauce from the night before … Because it was sitting there looking all forlorn, I decided to make use of it … to add a bit of colour to the potato cake.  But this is an optional … no need for yourselves to add tomato sauce.032And finally … sprinkle teaspoons of butter all over the potato cake.033Place the tortino in a hot oven … 200° C.034Bake for 35-45 minutes.  It all depends on the oven.  Ovens are frightfully finickity and terrible fibbers.  You never quite know what their real temperature is.
044Here is the tortino just out of the oven.045IMG_5298The mozzarella will melt and form ‘telephone lines’ as it would with a supplì!IMG_5299Say what you like … I just love potatoes!  And the beauty of a tortino di patate is that it can be eaten piping hot in Winter and at room temperature in summer.

About myhomefoodthatsamore

Community celebration via food, wine and all beautiful things.
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17 Responses to You say ‘potato’, I say ‘patata’ – Tortino di Patate, Prosciutto e Mozzarella

  1. Mimi says:

    This looks incredible!

  2. Lovely supper dish, Jo! And I’m pleased to now understand the alternative meanings of peas and potato!!!

    • Yes, isn’t it a hoot!!! I had a brainwave just after finishing this post. In slang, especially roman slang, a good looking filly will be called ‘che gnocca’ — from the word gnocchi, obviously. I could never really figure out the connection until I realised, today, that gnocci are of course made with potatoes!!!

      • I shall remember not to be offended if an Italian calls me a gnocca!!

      • I shall remember not to be offended if an Italian calls me a gnocca!

      • Stefano says:

        These “use of Italian” remarks are pretty interesting and fun 🙂
        As a native speaker, let me just add one remark to what thesinglegourmetandtraveller noted: well, let me say that if I were a woman I would take offense if someone referred to me as a “gnocca”. While Jo’s description of the meaning of the word is 100% accurate, it is pretty inappropriate slang and not a word anyone would use to pay a compliment to a woman who he likes. “Bella” (or variants) would be definitely more appropriate 🙂

      • Dear Stefano, I agree … I personally would never use the word ‘gnocca’ unless I were citing someone. It is not ‘just’ slang, it is very much MALE slang and all about sex, lust and bodies. As for taking offence … that would depend, meaning …. you know what Mae West supposedly said: it is better to be looked over, than overlooked!

  3. debra says:

    Thanks for the list of ingredients. My love to be organized shows!

  4. Great post! Both the recipe and the story about children’s bits 🙂

  5. This recipe sounds great. I know I would love it. Nice with a simple salad in summer, I would’ve thought.

  6. The blighters are not my number one favourite vegetable, but your recipe looks very delicious, I would eat a lot of that. Thanks for a new idea for spuds – and the anatomical enlightenment 🙂

  7. You’re right – it sounds delicious.

  8. Stefano says:

    This really looks yummy!

  9. Reblogged this on Crackling Pork Rinds and commented:
    Oh so good!

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