Since January is National Soup Month and it’s absolutely frigid outside, I thought we could all warm up with some good old fashioned Italian comfort food….
One of my favorite cold weather comfort foods is a dish (soup) called Pasta Patane (Pasta and Potato soup).
WHAT IS PASTA PATANE?
Pasta Patane is a starchy (pretty dry) soup widely made in the Naples region of Italy. It is also called Pasta e Patate or in english just Pasta and Potatoes.
Like many Italian dishes, each family and region has their own version of Pasta Patane, but they all include cut up potatoes, pasta and olive oil. Most recipes include tomatoes and some type of cheese. Some versions even call for onion and some type of bacon or sausage. The potatoes are cooked in just enough water to create a thicker consistency. The pasta is cooked al dente in a separate pot and then added towards the end of the cooking time. Once all mixed together and combined with some grated cheese this soup becomes more like a potato and pasta stew. For me it is the ultimate comfort food. It will without a doubt hit the spot!
My recipe is mostly based on the one I learned from my mother in law “Mama Lina”. This is a typical dish from the part of italy where she grew up. Like most Italian mothers she gave me a loose recipe with eyeball measurements so this is my best version of her Pasta Patane.
- To start you need to peel and dice about 4-5 medium sized Russet Potatoes. You kinda want a starchy potato for this dish because its the base of the soup and what makes it thicken and hearty. Heat a medium sized soup pot (large enough to hold about 4-5 cups of water) with olive oil and potatoes. Then saute the potatoes a few minutes and add the tomatoes (or sauce).
- Continue to cook the potatoes for another few minutes over medium heat.
- NOTE: Instead of peeled tomatoes, I use about 2/3rds cup of homemade tomato sauce (gravy as we say) to get some added flavor.
- Then I add about 4-5 cups of water and the bouillon cube (chicken, beef, stock – you choose). You want enough water in the pot to just cover the potatoes. Actually, in my photo below I added about a cup too much water but it all worked out in the end because I just added a little extra pasta.
- Bring the potatoes to a boil over medium heat and cook for about 15 minutes or until they are cooked and the soup is thickening.
- In the meantime, you should cook about 1 lb of ditalini pasta until they are al dente. Drain the pasta and add it to the potato and liquid.
- Then add a handful or so of your favorite grated cheese. I use parmesan but you can use Romano or Grano Padano, etc…
- NOTE: If you use a bigger pasta than ditalini you might want to use about a 1/2 to 2/3rds of a lb as they will grow much bigger.
- TIP: If you think the soup is too thick for your liking just don’t fully drain the pasta. But remember this is a thick soup. There should be very little broth.
- Once the pasta is cooked turn off the heat and let the soup stand a few minutes. This allows the pasta to absorb some more of the liquid.
After a few minutes the pasta absorbs more of the liquid and should look something like this….
This is definitely one of those dishes that benefits from sitting around a bit. Resist the temptation and wait a few before digging in.
Happy Cooking and eating, and stay warm!