Le patate sabbiose: Sandy potatoes.
In my opinion, the difference between really good roasted potatoes and okay ones is the roasting time. You want toasty brown, crunchy little nuggets of potato, sweet with olive oil and herbs, the kind of dish that makes you call it your ‘home’ rather than just your ‘house’. Also, think beyond rosemary. Fresh sage is great, but try adding it at the beginning, the middle or even the end, of the cooking time. Tarragon as well. Thyme works wonders. And a little parsley and red chilli at the end makes you look like a great cook, when all you did was throw some herbs at it. And stack them tall, too. Everyone loves that.
Garlic cloves, whole, peeled (optional)
Dry finely ground breadcrumbs
Chilli pepper flakes
Prep your potatoes as you see fit, leaving the skins on or take them off (eating the skins is a cultural stretch for most here in Italy). Be certain that the pieces are more or less even in size, no bigger than your thumb. Long wedges is the traditional shape. Toss with lots of salt, garlic, if using, liberal amounts of olive oil, lots of bread crumbs (don’t worry about amounts, as it’s self-limiting, too much of excesses simply won’t stick.
Place in single layer in baking tray.
Place tray in oven.
Flip each potato after 30 minutes or so.
At 45 minutes or so, depending on how you cut them, start checking them. You want crunchy bits, browned bits, bits that beg to be crunched on, the steam causing you to bite into them with your mouth open. If you can resist burning your mouth on them, they are probably not roasted enough.
Check for salt, toss with the herbs and lots of parsley, some chilli flakes, maybe even a shot of raw oil. Place on a nice plate and marvel how simple the dish, yet ultimately profoundly satisfying to so much of the world.
Wine: Anything! Bubbles work well, but anything crisp and steely would be ideal.