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Italian Mashed Potato Recipe - Puré di Patate - Simple Mashed Potatoes

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The concept of mashed potatoes may be simple, but mashed potatoes are a universe with all sorts of permutations and variations -- at least in the English speaking world. Italians instead tend to be simple with their mashed potatoes, making them with potatoes, butter, milk, and a dash of spices and seasonings, and then using them to accompany stews or roasts. Which is the perfect use for mashed potatoes, one of the finest supporting actors on the food stage.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 pounds (800 g) potatoes; you will want mealy or baking potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons (40 g) unsalted butter, in bits at room temperature
  • 3 cups (750 ml) milk (whole will give richer mashed potatoes)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A pinch of freshly ground nutmeg (if you like it)

Preparation:

Wash the potatoes and steam them until a skewer penetrates easily, about 30 minutes. You can also boil them if you would rather, but boiling leaches substance from the potatoes, and also makes them somewhat soggy.

Drain them peel them as soon as they have cooled enough to be touchable, and put them through a potato ricer, collecting the riced potatoes in asaucepot.

Set the saucepot over a very gentle flame, and incorporate the butter, stirring with a wooden spoon. Next add the milk a bit at a time in a thin stream, stirring briskly all the while, until all lumps are gone and it is creamy and of the consistency you like (you may not need to add all the milk). Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg (if you like it) and serve at once.

Note: As I said, there are many variations to mashed potatoes. Among the Italians ones are:
  • Using stirring in a cup of heavy cream, followed by sufficient milk to achieve a creamy texture.
  • Adding 2-3 tablepspoons freshly grated Parmigiano

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