Nonno Lino the chef of the grilled “petate” of Rocca Priora: all the taste of simplicity

Nonno Lino the chef of the grilled “petate” of Rocca Priora: all the taste of simplicity

"Ninni zecca 'n top, so fattu le petate alla race, vettele a pijà". (Ninni come on now, I made the potatoes on the grill, come and get them)

This is my town’s food on the table, and it takes very little.

A burning fire, which in the homes of all of us inhabitants of Rocca Priora, never fails in a winter, perfect embers, small potatoes and that pinch of love that makes this dish unique.

Under a small mountain of ash the potatoes cook slowly, in the meantime grandfather warns all his grandchildren to come back in an hour.

He takes care of it, takes them off at the exact moment when the cooking is perfect, and for how many times I have tried to replicate the dish, I assure you that I have never succeeded.

While he does it he snorts and blows "peel !!" he punctually exclaims in his inevitable dialect.

To peel them, he wraps them in a sheet of newspaper, so he doesn't get burned, removes the skin with impressive speed, mashes the potatoes with a fork and seasons them with plenty of salt and olive oil.

The dish is ready we are at grandfather's house, the saucers for everyone are there in a row in his kitchen. It is difficult to resist without tasting and at this rate the potatoes on the table will not last to the evening.

There is nothing else to add, a simple recipe born from the tradition of Rocca Priora cuisine for the need to feed oneself in difficult times, to make it special a secret ingredient, the heart, that of a grumpy grandfather who managed to pass on this flavour already to his fourth generation.


  • potatoes
  • olive oil
  • fine salt

The most important choice is certainly in the choice of potatoes, small and of equal size, so as to ensure equal and uniform cooking.

We prepare the embers, place the potatoes on the top of the fireplace and cover them with hot ash.

There are no times to respect, the right ones are dictated by experience.

Once cooked, the potatoes are peeled and then mashed with a fork, seasoned with olive oil and a pinch of salt, they are ready to be tasted.





Written by:
Virginia Belli e Chiara Rossi

Mother and daughter write stories and more for

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