Recipe: Al Vescovo's Rough-Mashed Potatoes and Vegetable

This recipe comes from the family-run trattoria-inn, Al Vescovo. Our lunch there was perfect trattoria, served by Michela, daughter of chef Bruna, all tradition, all seasonal, with superb winter squash gnocchi topped with pumpkin seeds and grated smoked ricotta, and a wonderful vegetable dish, mashed potatoes and cabbage flavored with garlic, vinegar, and pancetta. I asked Bruna for the recipe and she gave it to me, and added that I could use practically any vegetable with the potatoes.

    • 2 ounces pancetta (or quality bacon—this is a region that enjoys smoky flavors)
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 clove garlic, crushed
    • 3 to 4 tablespoons apple or white wine vinegar
    • 10 ounces red-skinned potatoes, peeled, boiled, and coarsely diced (save some of the cooking water)
    • around 1 1/2 cups cooked, chopped vegetable—cabbage, greens, green beans, radicchio, broccoli, or whatever you like, says Bruna

Chop the pancetta. Sauté with extra virgin until it starts to brown. Add the garlic and cook until lightly browned; add vinegar, and cook over medium heat until vinegar has evaporated. Add the potatoes and, with a potato masher or spatula, mash the potatoes into the pancetta. The potatoes should be chunky. Add the chopped vegetables to the potatoes, combining well. Add one half cup potato cooking water, season with salt and pepper, and cook to evaporate, until you like the consistency.

To read more about Faith's visit to Al Vescovo and her culinary journey through Italy's Northeast, click here.

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Faith Willinger is a chef, author, and born-again Italian. She moved to Italy in 1973 and has spent over 30 years searching for the best food from the Alps to Sicily. More

Faith Heller Willinger is a born-again Italian. She moved to Italy in 1973 and was seduced by Italian regional cooking. Faith has spent more than 30 years searching for the best food and wine, as well as the world beyond the table from the Alps to Sicily. She has no regrets about mileage or calories. Faith was awarded the prestigious San Pellegrino award for outstanding work as an ambassador of Italian cooking. She lives full-time in Florence with her Tuscan husband, Massimo. Her son Max lives in Milan. She's the author of the bestselling (9th printing) guidebook Eating in Italy, the cookbook Red, White & Greens, and the narrative recipe book Adventures of an Italian Food Lover. Faith teaches in her kitchen in Florence on Wednesdays, supplied with freshly picked produce from her favorite farmers. Check out her web site at www.faithwillinger.com.

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