The perfect neapolitan gattò di patate

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I bet you have never heard of the “gattò di patate” one of the most typical Italian recipes originated from the the French Bourbon legacy in Naples, South of Italy. As you can recall, gattò is the Neapolitan translation for the french gateau and it’s just a cake with mashed potatoes, butter, cheese and salami.

Being so heavy, the gattò is usually served as main dish or piatto unico and it’s topped with plain breadcrumbs. It’s definitely a warming recipe, the one you want to bake at home for your beloved ones and eat all together together with a lovely glass of red wine.

‘O gattò, that’s the name in Neapolitan, is an institution and for this reason there are lots of recipes out there; every single family and every single person in the same family has a different one and you have to choose one otherwise you’ll get stuck forever.

What you need for a 23cm round baking dish
1.5 kg (53 ounces) of potatoes
100 grams (3.5 ounces) of butter
100 grams (3.5 ounces) of grated Parmesan
4 eggs
130 grams (4.6 ounces) of Neapolitan salami (cut into slices or diced)
100 grams (3.5 ounces) of smoked provola cheese (diced)
100 grams (3.5 ounces) of mozzarella cheese (diced)
150 ml (5.07 fluid ounces) of whole milk (slightly heated)
100 grams (3.5 ounces) of plain breadcrumbs
Black pepper

How to make a perfect gattò
1. Boil your potatoes skin on then, while still hot, peel and mash all of them with a potato masher. Mash them until they will be completely done then add the butter and the Parmesan cheese continuing to mash with a fork.
2. Add the eggs, salt and pepper as needed and the salami. Add the milk slowly making sure it will be absorbed by the potatoes and won’t male the mixture too runny.
3. Butter the baking dish and sprinkle it with breadcrumbs then start assembling your gattò adding a first layer of mashed potatoes followed by the mozzarella and the provola cheese and again by another layer of mashed potatoes.
4. Sprinkle the top of the gattò with breadcrumbs and place the pan into refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
5. Turn on the oven at the maximum, add a few flakes of butter on top of the gattò then cook it at 180° for about 45 minutes.
6. Remove the gattò from oven, let it cool slightly and serve cut into slices without bread.

Preparation time: about 3 hours

Advices for a perfect gattò

1. The more the potatoes are old the better it is because they won’t release too much water;
2. The more your gattò can be in the fridge before being cooked the better it is to male it more firm;
3. Butter is the common choice for the gattò but traditionally you should use the “sugna” the pig’s fat for a better and rich flavor.
4. The pan you’ve to use is traditionally a round one, quite high and not sticky. You can also use single serving pan, like the ones in the photo.
5. Since you’re not in Italy some of the ingredients can be difficult to be found. Neapolitan cheese can be substituted with chorizo, provola cheese with cheddar cheese. The flavor will change from the original but the effort will still be worth.
6. Avoid the ready made breadcrumb and try to make it at home: just blend some stale bread to get the perfect breadcrumb the size you want.

[Photos copyright @Giuseppe Milo]

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Categories: Main dishes, Traditional Italian recipes
Article written by Veruska Anconitano aka La Cuochina Sopraffina
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