Although our mashed potato duty has been contracted out for Thanksgiving this year I am sure that sometime between now and New Years Day I will make Rosemary Mashed Potatoes. These are our favorite mashed potatoes of all time. I got the recipe years ago from a cooking class at the Kitchen Witch when it was still open in Encinitas. If I remember correctly it was taught by Nadia Frigeri. I think it was an Italian inspired class because the recipe is titled Puree Di Patate Ai Peperoni e Rosmarino. If you don’t have a plan for your mashed potato dish this holiday season, this is for you!
Rosemary Mashed Potatoes with Red Bell Pepper and Pine Nuts
Serves 6 (or 2 hungry Saakes, recipe multiplies well)
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes skin on diced into 1″ cubes
Coarse Sea Salt and Freshly ground coarse pepper
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup or more of milk
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts (toast at 350 for 5 minutes)
1/2 cup or more grated parmesan cheese
1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled and cut into strips (directions below)
1. Boil or steam potatoes until tender, start checking about 12 minutes. a fork should slip into a piece of potato easily. Puree with a potato ricer or food mill. Transfer to large saucepan, season with salt, pepper and add the melted butter, mix together.
2. In a small saucepan heat the milk and chopped rosemary. Simmer 2-3 minutes. Slowly incorporate the milk mixture into the potatoes, just until you reach the desired consistency, stir to blend the ingredients. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Stir in pine nuts, grated parmesan and red bell peppers strips. Serve warm.
Make Ahead Note: These can be made ahead and refrigerated but leave the red bell pepper out until you are finished reheating the potatoes.
Roasted Bell Peppers:
Preheat the grill to high heat for 10 minutes. Place the whole pepper directly on the grill and close the lid, turning occasionally. Take care to not let the pepper burn too badly ( some blackening and blistering is desired) cook until the pepper collapses about 10 minutes. I like to grill them but you can also roast them in the oven at 500F on a rack set near the top this takes a little longer about 30 minutes. Place the hot peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. When cool enough to handle the peel will remove easily. Discard the stem, peel and seeds.
This version is slightly tweaked a la Saake. I rarely peel vegetables because I like the added texture and nutrition gained by leaving the peel on but the original recipe did call for peeling the potatoes. I puree the potatoes with a potato ricer which takes some muscle and time if your cooking for a crowd. I think a food mill would be easier but it is one of the few kitchen gadgets I don’t own. If your in a hurry you can mash them but the fine texture really is worth the extra time. I am a bit picky about my salt and pepper and highly recommend these OXO salt and pepper grinders. If I could permanently set the grind to coarse I would. Whenever Willie is home he adjusts them down to a finer grind which I only discover after the fact! A great holiday gift for the cooks on your list. I start by adding only 3/4 of a cup of the milk and rosemary mixture and usually that gives me just the right texture. I often let the milk and rosemary sit on the warm oven after simmering, I think it allows the rosemary to soften a bit. If you live in a Mediterranean climate plant an upright rosemary plant, you will never regret it. It is a low maintenance, low water plant that stays green all year and will provide you fresh rosemary for the kitchen for years to come. Although I have 2 friends who do not like rosemary I cannot fathom how that can be. Be sure to watch and smell for the pine nuts closely when toasting, they are too expensive to let burn! You can use jarred roasted bell peppers if you must but be sure to pat them dry first.