Potato “Gatto”

by on January 11, 2008
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Thank you so much for all the wonderful responses to my my anniversary post. I’m happy and a little amazed to hear how many people love green smoothies, and because of one reader’s comments, I’m going to try adding collard greens to mine. All I stand to lose is my lunch. (Well, that came out wrong; I meant by pouring it down the drain if I don’t like it!)

One of my blogging resolutions was to post more bad recipes, and though this doesn’t qualify as bad, it’s one that could stand to be improved. It’s a veganization of a recipe in The Italian Country Table for “Gatto” Di Patate, a layered potato casserole:

"Gatto" Di Patate

The original recipe (conveniently posted here) includes a quarter pound of salami, a cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and a half pound of mozzarella. When I decided to veganize the recipe, I noticed the animal products, of course, but I failed to take into account how much of them there were. Also, I concentrated my efforts on making up for the strong flavor of the salami without considering the creaminess of the cheese. I used porcini mushrooms and roasted red pepper to make up for the loss of the salami and nutritional yeast in the potatoes to add a little of the cheesiness of the Parmesan. Those were fine substitutions (though I think that sundried tomatoes might pack more punch than roasted peppers), but I probably should have gone a little further and substituted something for the mozzarella that originally topped the layer of onions. The casserole was a little on the dry side and would have benefited from some cheesiness.

So, what I recommend, particularly if you are cooking this for guests (or picky family members), is this: Top the layer of onions with a cheese sauce such as this one. If you are not following a fat-free eating style, consider using one of the packaged vegan mozzarella cheeses. Also, if fat doesn’t bother you, a little Earth Balance Margarine would help moisten the potatoes. And adding a little diced veggeroni or soy pepperoni to the potatoes would really make the veganized version more like the original.

Like I said, though, this wasn’t a bad recipe; my husband D and I ate it all, over several days. E and her friend, however, weren’t thrilled with it. E did not like the bread crumbs (she never does), and her omnivore friend just didn’t care for the whole thing. The crumbs are heavily garlic flavored–I used 2 cloves–so if you don’t like garlic, definitely use only 1 clove. If you’re following Eat to Live or Weight Watchers’ Core plan, you can even leave the breadcrumbs off (though they are what D liked best).

Vegan Potato "Gatto"

Vegan Potato “Gatto”
(printer-friendly version)

“Gattô” comes from the French “gâteau,” meaning cake; think of it as a layered cake of potatoes.

3 pounds Yukon gold or red potatoes
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 onion, diced
olive oil spray
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups panko (or gluten-free bread crumbs)
3/4 cup plain soymilk or other non-dairy milk (fatfree preferred)
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1/4 cup roasted red pepper, diced
1 1/3 cups frozen green peas, thawed

Put the potatoes in a large pot, cover with water, and simmer 25 minutes or until tender all the way through (pierce with a fork to check). When they’re done, dip out 1/2 cup of the cooking water and drain.

While the potatoes are cooking, rehydrate the porcini mushrooms according to package directions. (I cover them with hot water and soak for about 25 minutes.) When they are completely rehydrated, drain them, reserving the liquid, and chop coarsely. Strain the soaking liquid through a coffee filter or fine mesh strainer and set aside.

Spray a non-stick skillet with the olive oil, and heat it. Add the onions and sauté until they are browned. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper to taste, then remove them from the pan. Give the pan another quick spray and add the minced garlic and panko. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes or until the panko has browned slightly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Mash the potatoes in their skins until slightly lumpy; then stir in the soymilk, nutritional yeast, roasted red pepper, diced porcini mushrooms, and half of the peas. If the potatoes seem dry, add some of the mushroom liquid and/or potato water. You want them to be fairly moist. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Spray an 8-inch casserole dish lightly with olive oil. Spread half of the potato mixture into the dish, followed by the remaining peas and the onions. Top with the rest of the potatoes, smoothing the top.

Bake for about 25 minutes, or until hot throughout. Top with the bread crumbs, pressing them into the potatoes slightly. Bake another 10 minutes and serve.

Makes 8 generous servings. Per serving: 219 Calories (kcal); 1g Total Fat; (3% calories from fat); 7g Protein; 47g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 78mg Sodium; 5g Fiber. 4 WW Points. (Core +3 points for the breadcrumbs)

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amateur Cook June 5, 2011 at 12:36 am

Well that’s a new twist I must say, a food blog striving to share bad recipes???

Actually, I don’t need your help with that… a lot of recipes I have cooked have turned out bad anyway! ;)

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2 Sharon February 12, 2014 at 12:42 pm

I just want to say how amazing you are! You are such a generous person, sharing your stories, fabulous recipes and spreading the word about healthy cooking! My hubby and I adore you!

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