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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) or chips (fries), or else it's a word used on menus to suggest the restaurant's potatoes are choice, dainty ones.

patate arrosto: roast potates.

patate al cartoccio are jacket potatoes; ripiena (stuffed) means it comes with something on it, bavaresi means cream and chives.

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

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Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Image by Victoria Rachitzky Hoch