For the videos of this class click here.
Ingredienti (for one baking pan):
-4-5 large patate (e.g. Idaho or Russet are perfect) and/or 2 finocchi (fennel bulbs)
- latte (milk)
- grated parmigiano
- olio d'oliva (olive oil)
- sale, pepe nero, noce moscata (salt, black pepper, nutmeg)
1- Preheat the oven at 200 C/400 F
2- Peel the potatoes and cut them in disks about 1/2 cm thick (1/5 inch)
3- Wash the fennel bulbs, remove the stalks/leafy part and slice them (there isn't an
ideal thickness, but if you make them thinner they cook faster)
4- Lightly coat the bottom of a porcelain or pyrex baking pan with olive oil
5- Make a few layers of potatoes/fennel and cheese, seasoning with a little salt, nutmeg and black pepper.
6- Add enough milk to cover
7- Top with grated parmigiano
8- Bake until the milk becomes creamy, the patate/finocchi are soft and the top is golden brown (based on the thickness, it usually takes 20-30 minutes)
- you can add sliced onions and some garlic if you like them
- non-vegetarians can add a couple of thin layers of ham
- if you want to reduce the time in the forno (oven), you can boil the potates/fennel before placing them in the baking pan..but you will have one extra pentola (pot) to wash =P, so I do not consider it a time saver after all
- you can add different spices, such as curry (not much used in Italy, but tasty)
- you can use also the stems of the finocchi if you slice them very thin.
- Finocchi are delicious raw, as a healthy snack, or in a salad.
During the Spring 2012 I taught one of many interdisciplinary undergraduate seminars in the Experimental Study Group at MIT. Each class is based on the preparation of a simple delicious dish and on the bite-sized acquisition of parts of the Italian language and culture.