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Ligurian Potato, Green Bean and Mushroom Gratin
Polpettone alla Ligure is the Italian name for this rustic, oven-baked dish. The term polpettone translates as “meatloaf,” but in this case, it refers to a mashup of vegetables baked into a casserole. In classic versions, the potatoes are cooked and pureed before cooked green beans, eggs and Parmesan cheese are mixed in. After baking, the vegetables are set enough to be cut into neat squares. For a more satisfying texture, we keep the potatoes on the chunky side, and for added savoriness, we supplement the beans with cremini mushrooms. Just before slipping the baking dish into the oven, we top the vegetables with a mixture of panko breadcrumbs and Parmesan for toasty crispness. If convenient, the gratin can be assembled, covered and refrigerated for up to six hours before baking, but keep the panko mixture separate. Just before baking, sprinkle with the topping and extend the cooking time by about 15 minutes. With a salad alongside, this dish is a satisfying vegetarian main, or offer it as a side to braises or roasts of almost any type.
tablespoons (½ stick) salted butter, plus 2 tablespoons salted butter, melted
pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced ¼ inch thick
01Heat the oven to 400°F with a rack in the middle position. Mist a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. In a 12-inch skillet over medium, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Add the potatoes and ½ teaspoon salt, then stir to coat. Add ½ cup water, then distribute the potatoes evenly. Cover and cook until a skewer inserted into the potatoes meets no resistance, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring once about halfway through. Transfer the potatoes and any liquid in the pan to a large bowl, then use a fork to mash to the consistency of chunky mashed potatoes; set aside.
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