"Italian" Scalloped Potatoes--pesto and cheese flavor a casserole of creamy potatoes
I have a love affair with potatoes. They are the perfect breakfast, lunch, or dinner go-with-anything food. And they are full of nutrients, fiber, and low in calories (unless you prepare them the Carb Diva way).
Last evening I was preparing dinner--two beautiful Tillapia fillets that I topped with a crust of panko, grated Parmesan, and oregano. (Yes, I also love Italian food, but that's another story for another day). I wasn't in the mood for polenta or risotto. I wanted potatoes and was determined to give them an Italian flare. And "Scalloped Potatoes with an Italian Twist" were born.
- non-stick cooking spray
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- 6-8 new potatoes, medium size
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons basil pesto
- 1 large beefsteak tomato, seeded and chopped
- Coat the bottom and sides of a 1-quart casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle in two tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese, rotating and tapping the dish to cover the bottom and sides with the cheese. Set aside.
- Slice the potatoes about 1/8-inch thick. You should have about 3 cups of potatoes. Place in a wide sauté pan and cover with broth. Simmer over medium heat until the potatoes are almost done. You should be able to pierce one of the slices with the tip of a knife, but there will still be some slight resistance. You don't want the potatoes to be soft--they will finish cooking in the oven.
- Use a skimmer to remove one half of the potatoes; place them in the prepared casserole dish. Dot on the basil pesto, and then cover with a layer of chopped tomato. Place the remaining potatoes on top and cover with the 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese.
- Carefully pour the remaining both over the potatoes. It should almost come to the top layer.
- Bake at 400 degrees about 20 minutes or until it is bubbly and the cheese begins to brown. Allow to sit 5 minutes before serving.
Why this Recipe Works
- Coating the baking dish with Parmesan cheese instead of dry bread crumbs adds another layer of "Italian" flavor.
- Simmering the potato slices in broth rather than water flavors the entire potato, not just the outside.
- Basil pesto contains garlic and herbs--much more fun that simply using minced onions.
- Tomatoes and potatoes--did you know that they are in the same family? Why not put them together?