I recently made ciambotta (like an Italian ratatouille) on two separate occasions, first using russet potatoes, and once using red potatoes. In both instances, the potatoes (cut into half-inch pieces) came out too firm for my tastes (and my wife's taste). Both times the potatoes spent about 45 minutes all-told simmering in the Dutch oven before being served, and spent multiple days in the fridge as leftovers.
I thought that maybe if I parboiled the potatoes first I'd get better results. But I also don't want to overcook them and make them mushy. I've seen a lot online about parboiling potatoes before roasting them, but nothing about adding them to a stew.
Is parboiling a reasonable strategy here? How risky is it? I want the potatoes to be softer, but I don't want them to be mushy either.