I love good mashed potatoes, but Aaron is addicted to good mashed potatoes. Needless to say, we have mashed potatoes often around here. If I am making gravy of some kind, I make plain old mashed potatoes: potatoes boiled until tender, lots of butter, some hot milk and mashed until smooth. Nothing simpler. But if I want something a bit fancier or that will be served without gravy, I often make garlic and Parmesan mashed potatoes. They are very tasty and easy to make, but taste like they took hours.
This recipe serves 2-3 people, unless one of them is Aaron! Feel free to double or triple the recipe with no changes in proportions.
2 russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/4 cup good quality olive oil
4-6 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 cup grated good quality Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese
1/3 cup heated milk or cream
1 tbsp. butter, optional
chopped parsley or chives, optional
Cover the potatoes with water and bring to a boil, cook until the potatoes are very tender. Remove from heat, drain and cover the pain, allowing to sit and steam while cooking the garlic. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and then add the garlic. Fry gently until the garlic is very fragrant and beginning to brown, stirring constantly. Be careful not to scorch the garlic or it will be bitter. Remove from heat and dump into the potatoes. Mash the potatoes until fairly smooth, then add the grated Parmesan and continue to mash until well blended. Add the butter and heated milk, plus the chopped parsley or chives if using. Beat well with a spoon until smooth and creamy and with the consistency that you like, adding more hot milk if needed. Serve hot. Leftovers make really good potato pancakes. As always, enjoy!
You can substitute other types of cheese if you like or if you have no Parmesan. Quantities may vary up or down, depending on how strong a cheese flavor you like or the cheese you are using, so it might be a good idea to taste as you go. Also, if you are using a lot of cheese, you may need a greater quantity of hot milk to achieve the consistency you want. Feel free to substitute other types of herbs for the parsley or chives, as well.
As for potato pancakes. My mom always made potato pancakes from leftover mashed potatoes and we all loved them. They are really easy to make and I've been known to cook and mash a potato just to make the pancakes. Here is how I do it.
about 2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup chopped onion
some chopped parsley, optional
Beat all together, adding salt and pepper to taste, sometimes I'll add a sprinkle of paprika for color. Heat a couple of tbsps. butter or oil or bacon dripping in a non-stick skillet. Form the dough into little patties and fry in the hot fat until nice and brown, then turn and brown on the other side. Eat while hot. Enjoy!