Gratto’- Potatoes Cake
(“Torta di Patate
– Gratto’ a Palermitana”)
The following recipe
for this potato baked specialty is the classic potatoes gratto’ made in
Palermo and with some variances all over Sicily. A similar potato cake made in Naples called gatto’ makes abundant use of local cheeses and a mixture of cold cuts.
Gratto' or Gatto' in a contraction of Gateaoux.
My mother made the
gratto’ di patate, as for the following recipe except for the stuffing that did not required any preparation. And
in fact she prepared a stuffing made of Mortadella cut into small cubes, thin slices of salami and diced soft
cheese with a combination of any left over meat, cold cuts, or vegetables. It was
breadcrumbs, the gratto’ was without fail prepared for Saint Lucy. On
that occasion, usually the rich meat stuffing version was baked to substitute the pasta or to serve instead of
bread with the main course.
This recipe is
presented to give you an idea on how to make a Potato Gateaux, however feel free to use your fantasy and make your
personal version of the gratto’ or the gatto’.
Serves 8 to
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion,
- ½ lb. chopped meat (veal is
- 3 full tablespoons of
- ¼ cup of white
- Few basil leaves,
- 5 oz. frozen peas (boiled
in salted water for 5 minutes)
- Salt and
- 2 medium size eggplants,
sliced the long way, skin on
- Oil for frying the
- 2 hard boiled
- 2 ½ lb.
- ¼ cup parsley finely
- salt and pepper
- 2 eggs
- ¼ lb. grated
- 1 cup of milk if
- 4 tablespoons of olive
- ½ lb. provolette cheese,
cut into small cubes
- ½ lb. plain Italian
Prepare a day ahead.
Over a medium flame heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a 3 quart
Add diced onions and sauté until light golden, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add chopped meat, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon.
Add wine and reduce, about 3 minutes.
Dilute tomato paste with one cup of water, stir it into the meat, add additional water to cover chopped meat;
add basil and salt and pepper to taste.
Sauce should be a little watery.
Bring to a boil and cook on a high heat for 2 minutes. Lower heat and simmer for 45
minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add boiled peas and cook sauce for an additional 15 minutes or until liquid is
Cool off and refrigerate.
salted water, boil the potatoes with skin on, until tender.
Fry the eggplants and drain on paper towels.
Peel the potatoes and mash with a ricer.
Add parsley, salt and pepper to taste, the 2 eggs lightly beaten, grated cheese and
1 tablespoon of oil.
too dry add some milk and blend it in well.
Blend the ingredients, to obtain a homogenized mixture.
Slice the hard boiled eggs.
Grease a 12” X3” round pan with 1 tablespoon of oil; dust pan with breadcrumbs, invert pan on a dish to
remove excess crumbs.
Place half of the mashed potatoes into the pan, layer with
the eggplant, and cover with the meat sauce; place on top the sliced eggs and the diced cheese. Cover with the
remaining potatoes and flatten the top; use a pastry brush to lightly wet the surface with the remaining
2 tablespoon of oil and sprinkle uniformly with some
Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until
a crispy light brown crust forms on the
Cool the gratto’ for a few minutes before
serving from the pan.
you want to transfer into a platter, let it cool for at least 20 minutes before inverting the pan into the