We eat a lot of pasta in our Italian home, but potatoes run a close second when it comes to favorite starches.

I love the versatility of potatoes, which can be served at both the breakfast and dinner meals, and the abundance of ways in which to serve them. These Baked Potatoes and Onions would be great at morning, noon or night and feature creamy gold potatoes with a generous helping of thinly sliced onions.

I used Klondike Rose potatoes on this occasion, but any Klondike or Yukon Gold variety will work, as will creamy red potatoes like the kind you can find at the NoKota Packers Co. in Buxton, N.D. These types of potatoes have a creamy texture and rich, buttery flavor that make them ideal for this recipe.

Klondike Rose potatoes are peeled and diced into half-inch cubes. A sweet yellow onion is cut into 1/8-inch-thick strips or even thinner, if possible. Sarah Nasello / The Forum
Klondike Rose potatoes are peeled and diced into half-inch cubes. A sweet yellow onion is cut into 1/8-inch-thick strips or even thinner, if possible. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

My recipe calls for 2 1/2 pounds of potatoes, which are peeled and sliced into half-inch cubes. To keep the small cubes moist and creamy as they bake, I parcook them first in the microwave for three minutes on high heat. This simple step makes a world of difference both in the flavor and texture of the potatoes.

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To ensure the potatoes retain their moisture and creaminess, the diced potatoes are parcooked for three minutes in a microwave before baking in the oven. Sarah Nasello / The Forum
To ensure the potatoes retain their moisture and creaminess, the diced potatoes are parcooked for three minutes in a microwave before baking in the oven. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

For the onion, look for sweet varieties like Vidalia or Walla Walla if available; otherwise, any yellow variety will suffice. One small to medium onion is peeled and sliced into thin strips about 1/8 of an inch thick, or even thinner if possible.

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The potatoes and onions will bake in a hot oven at 400 degrees, and instead of a baking sheet, I prefer to use a baking dish with 2-inch sides for this potato dish (a 9-inch square or round cake pan is perfect). The vegetables are tossed several times as they bake and a deeper dish makes this task easier, and also helps the potatoes retain their moisture for a rich and creamy result.

A blend of melted butter, extra-virgin olive oil, seasoned salt and freshly ground black pepper is used to flavor the potatoes and onions. Sarah Nasello / The Forum
A blend of melted butter, extra-virgin olive oil, seasoned salt and freshly ground black pepper is used to flavor the potatoes and onions. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

I toss the potatoes and onions in a blend of melted butter, extra-virgin olive oil, seasoned salt and freshly ground black pepper and then bake them for 30 minutes, tossing the mixture every 10 minutes. After this time, I increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees and bake them for another five to 10 minutes until the potatoes are tender and golden, and the onions have caramelized and melted into them.

The potatoes and onions are tossed in the liquid mixture until well combined and evenly coated. Sarah Nasello / The Forum
The potatoes and onions are tossed in the liquid mixture until well combined and evenly coated. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

When transferring the potatoes to a serving dish, I make sure to include all the crispy, caramelized bits that I can scrape from the bottom and sides of the pan. A generous tablespoon of fresh parsley is added just before serving, not only for color but also to elevate the other flavors.

This simple side dish of Baked Potatoes and Onions will fill your kitchen with warmth and fragrance, and leave your family begging for more, no matter what time of day you serve it.

The onions will caramelize and melt into the potatoes as they bake, ensuring that every forkful is filled with flavor. Sarah Nasello / The Forum
The onions will caramelize and melt into the potatoes as they bake, ensuring that every forkful is filled with flavor. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

Baked Potatoes and Onions

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Serves: 4

Ingredients:

2 1/2 pounds Klondike Rose, Yukon Gold or Red Creamer potatoes, diced into half-inch cubes

1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place the diced potatoes in a microwave-safe bowl and cook on high heat for 3 minutes; remove from microwave and set aside.

Place the olive oil and butter in a baking dish with 2-inch sides (like a 9-inch square or round cake pan). Place the pan in the oven and remove once the butter is melted and bubbly.

Add the seasoned salt and black pepper to the melted butter mixture and then add the potatoes and sliced onions. Toss with a rubber spatula or spoon until well combined.

Bake the potato-onion mixture for 30 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes, then increase the heat and bake for 5 to 10 more minutes until the potatoes are soft and brown around the edges and the onions have caramelized into the potatoes. Remove from oven and sprinkle the chopped parsley over the mix, tossing to combine.

Transfer the potatoes to a serving dish, including any crispy, caramelized bits from the bottom and sides of the pan. Serve immediately.

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“Home with the Lost Italian” is a weekly column written by Sarah Nasello featuring recipes by her husband, Tony Nasello. The couple owned Sarello’s in Moorhead and lives in Fargo with their son, Giovanni. Readers can reach them at sarahnasello@gmail.com.