When I was a kid I shied away from mashed potatoes. If I did succumb, they had to be perfectly whipped. If I detected a tiny lump, I couldn’t bear to eat them. Times have changed and I now love potatoes in any form-fried, roasted, scalloped, mashed and especially “smashed’-those potatoes that are not perfectly whipped and with more than a lump or two lurking around.
My Aunt J. made a dish that we called “Italian Potato Pie” which was essentially mashed potatoes with parmigiano and mozzarella folded in. The recipe I used tonight takes this idea one step further and incorporates peas and sauteed onions in to the mix, baked in a deeper dish and topped off freshly made bread crumbs. One more thing, the potatoes should still be lumpy!
3 pounds Yellow Finn potatoes
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced and sauteed until lightly browned in 1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/3 cup milk
1-1/3 cups tiny frozen peas, defrosted
1/4 pound fresh mozzarella in liquid, drained and sliced 1/4″ thick
Bread crumbs made with 3 pieces country style bread, processed in food processor and then toasted in skillet with a little olive oil over medium heat and seasoned with salt and pepper.
Peel potatoes and place in large pot, cover with water and simmer until tender, about 25 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and oil a deep baking dish. Slice the butter into a large bowl. Drain the potatoes and add to the bowl with the butter. Mash with a fork, blending in the milk, Parmigiano, salt and pepper. The potatoes should be lumpy. Fold in half of the peas. Spread half of the potato mixture into the prepared dish. Top with the remaining peas, sauteed onions and then top with the sliced mozzarella. Cover with the rest of the potatoes.
Bake about 30 minutes, or until the casserole is hot and then top with the bread crumbs and bake another 10 minutes. Serves: 6-8
Adapted from Lynne Rossetto Kasper’s cook The Italian Country KItchen.