This recipe is a fabulous combination of pureed potato, eggs, melted cheese and ham under a golden crunchy topping. Italian families I know cook this for big meals with friends as they know it’s a hit with children. It goes brilliantly with grilled or barbecued meats. For kids it’s a meal in itself with some veg and you can freeze leftovers in small portions. I first ate ‘gato di patate’ at a Marzo family barbecue in Viterbo. The lovely Mrs Marzo would take it upon herself to ‘feed me up’ whenever she saw me. As if my life as a restaurant frequenting journalist wasn’t quite nourishing enough. Elasticated waistbands are always essential at Marzo meals. She gets really upset if you don’t leave a clean plate. I don’t mind so much. We don’t have room in our house for dinner guests to lie beached on the floor.