Da Cecco's potato cake
Da Cecco's potato cake
By: Susan Campbell
TO go with my abbacchio alla cacciatore
you could serve another dish that was a great hit with us in Rome. We came across it in a very popular, traditional restaurant, Cecco er Carrettiere, in Trastevere. On a platter amongst the display of antipasto, we saw a great flattened orange volcano. Sheer curiosity drove Liz Burn to order a portion and she shared the wedge-shaped offering with us. It made a strange antipasto as it was warm and similar to mashed potato in texture. Some thought it might even be potato, others guessed pumpkin, and all decided there was tomato in it. Unfortunately we were all too busy eating, drinking and talking (it was our last meal of the holiday) to ask the waiter for the recipe.
Back home I remembered it with pleasure, and experimented with a homemade tomato sauce, moulied into warm, dry moulied potato. That seemed to be it, except it wasn't quite. None of my cookery books had a recipe for anything like it, and then Liz phoned in great excitement to say she'd found it in her files. It was in [GFW member] Claudia Roden's Taste of Italy
series in the Sunday Times Magazine, dating back to 1989. Not only had Claudia discovered it in the same restaurant, and been given the recipe by its proprietor - her subsequent book has been newly issued in paperback as The Food of Italy, Region by Region
(Vintage). Claudia makes her (unseived) tomato sauce with wine (the ingredient my version lacked) and calls the recipe Potato Cake.
[Recipe based on Claudia Roden's, in The Sunday Times's The Taste of Italy
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
350g (or 3 large) fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped
150ml dry white wine
Salt and pepper
450g (or 4 medium-sized) potatoes
Fry the onion in olive oil on a very low flame until soft but hardly coloured, stirring often. Add the tomatoes, seasoning and wine and simmer for half an hour or until reduced to a thick sauce.
Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in their skins until soft, then peel them. Put them through a mouli-legumes, adding the tomato sauce as you go. Stir well and check the seasoning. Serve hot, warm or cold, shaped into a cake.
© recipe copyright 2000 Susan Campbell
Author: Susan Campbell Email: