A country that eats pasta for primo doesn't have a lot of use for more starch in the secondo, but the Italians still manage to put away a lot of potatoes.

A lot of them go into gnocchi, into the potato pies and casseroles popular in the south, or into patatine, which can mean crisps (chips), chips (fries), or else it's a word used on menus to suggest the restaurant's potatoes are choice, dainty ones. patata al cartoccio: jacket baked potato; ripiena (stuffed) means it comes with something on it, bavaresi means cream and chives.

patate arrosto: roast potates.

patate dolci are sweet potatoes. Italians are rather fond of American sweet potato pie, and they're gradually catching on to other uses for them.

patate fritte: also used for fries (chips).

patate lesse: boiled, in slices.

patate 'mpacchiuse: sautéed with red onions, preferably from Tropea; a speciality of Calabria

patate novelle: new potatoes.

patate raganate: baked sliced potatoes with tomato, anchovy, onions, oregano and bread crumbs (Basilicata).

patate sabbiose ('sandy'): potato wedges briefly fried, then coated in breadcrumbs and spices and baked. Also called patate impanate.

Two varieties are in the Ark of Taste:

patata quarantina: an ancient variety grown in Liguria above 300m and known as a suitable accompaniment to stocafisso.

patata rossa di Cetica: a light red potato grown around Arezzo in Tuscany.

NB: 'patata' can also mean a chubby little girl or a cute grown up one—the equivalent of a 'tomato' in English. Patatina, on the other hand, is a rather rude word for a lady's bits.

The annual Sagra della patata takes place in early July at Sant'Agata Bolognese (Emilia-Romagna).

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