Wash the potatoes under running water, scrubbing well. Steam them for 35-40 minutes or put them in a saucepan of cold, salted water and bring to the boil for roughly the same length of time. In the meanwhile, wash the rosemary and choose a few of the tiny leaves to chop finely with two peeled garlic cloves. Cut the cheese into slices, it doesn’t matter if they’re irregular shapes and sizes seeing that they’ll soon be melted... the important thing is that they’re tasty! Fresh or medium-mature pecorino is perfect. When the potatoes are cooked, let them cool a bit, then peel them and leave them to cool down completely; this makes it easier to slice without breaking them (or burning your fingers!). When cold, cut them in half with a very sharp knife, doing your best not to break them. Now it’s time to use the rigatino: take a slice, lay it on one of the pieces of potato, sprinkle with a pinch of chopped rosemary and add a slice of cheese, then another slice of rigatino and more rosemary. Put the two halves of the potato back together to create a sort of sandwich and tie it together with string, taking care not to tie too tight as it may break. Now do the same with the other potatoes. Put the olive oil and remaining (peeled) garlic in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Let the garlic brown (without burning) then add the potatoes, the remaining rosemary and a pinch of salt. Carefully cook the potatoes all over until they are golden brown, then remove from the heat. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper, arrange the potatoes on it and bake in the oven, at 200 °C, for about 10 minutes.
Serve with a generous sprinkling of pepper...
...they are delicious!
(1) “Rigatino”, also known as Tuscan pancetta or “ventresca”, is a cold cut made with pork belly. The meat used is divided into rectangular blocks, weighing about 2 kg. They’re laid out on planks, salted and left for a couple of days; then washed with a mixture of boiled vinegar and chilli pepper. When dry, they undergo the definitive “peppering” process, with a mixture of pepper and chilli pepper, and are left to age for a period that goes from 2 to 4 months. The reason for the name of this cold cut – “rigatino” – can be seen when it’s sliced, because the bright red meat is “rigato” (= striped) with fat.