Learn all the secrets and tips for making the best Italian style recipe for creamy, homemade mashed potatoes with Parmesan cheese, milk, butter, and some olive oil.
Homemade mashed potatoes are one of the best side dishes. Everyone loves their creamy texture and delicate flavor that complements most of the other flavors on your table! That’s the main reason I serve them with this whole Greek stuffed chicken with rice and chestnuts and this easy honey-balsamic glazed chicken with dried fruit. The thing with mashed potatoes is that the more butter you add, the more velvety, silky and tasty they’ll become. To make them healthier, with less calories but no compromises in taste, I reduce the amount of butter, add a little bit of olive oil (for healthy fats) some Parmesan cheese and freshly grated nutmeg. Follow the simple secrets and tips bellow and make the best mashed potatoes!
How to make the best homemade mashed potatoes
1. What type of potatoes to use for mashing
The first thing you have to consider is what type of potatoes to use. You need a potato with high starch content and low moisture, one that will become creamy and not mealy. Your best option for this are Russet, Idaho or Yukon gold potatoes.
2. How to cook the potatoes
Once you have selected your preferred variety, you have to cook them in a way that they’ll get cooked uniformly. You don’t want them to be overcooked on the outside and under-cooked in the center. So, transfer them in a pot filled with cold water and turn on the heat. When the water starts to boil reduce the temperature to a gentle simmer and cook until fork tender.
If you want to give more flavor you can cook them with the skin on and peel them later, while still hot (I have also seen recipes where you boil the skins in the milk or cream and then strain it, for even more flavor). I usually don’t do that because it is fussier. You can also add one garlic clove, half an onion, and one chicken bouillon to the pot with the potatoes. Remove the onion and the garlic before mashing.
3. Get rid of as much moisture as possible
After they’re cooked you have to dry them – remove most of the moisture (this step is optional, but it will help for the best texture). The easier way is to drain them well using a colander and return them to the pot. Keep the heat to low and leave the pot on the stove for 1-2 minutes. Your other option is to drain and then bake in the oven for a few minutes.
4. How to mash potatoes in 3 different ways
Once the potatoes are cooked, you have to mash them. Don’t over-mix the potatoes and don’t use a mixer or a food processor (they will become gummy).
- Use a potato ricer (the easier way)
- Use a potato masher – especially if you like small chunks left
- Pass the potatoes through a large sieve by pressing them with a wooden spatula (still easy, but not so easy as the other 2 ways)
5. Add the rest of the ingredients while the potatoes are still hot
Warm the butter with the milk and keep it very hot.
Add the aromatics to the potatoes while they’re still hot. They will absorb all the flavor. Cold potatoes won’t absorb any flavor.
6. What to add in your homemade mashed potatoes
- Fresh herbs (thyme, parsley, rosemary)
- crispy bacon
- Freshly grated black pepper (use white pepper if you don’t want it to show)
- Other types of cheese like cheddar or gruyere
- cream cheese for extra creaminess
- mashed boiled vegetables like carrots and broccoli
- 2.2 pounds (1 kg) potatoes, peeled and cut in slices
- 1 garlic clove whole
- half an onion
- 1 1/2 cups (375 grams) milk
- 3 tablespoons (45 grams) butter
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt or to taste
- freshly grated nutmeg (1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon)
- 1 cup (80 grams) grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- Chives or green onions chopped
Cook the potatoes: Transfer the potatoes, the garlic, and the onion to a pot filled with cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook until the potatoes are fork tender.
Warm the milk: transfer the milk, the butter, the olive oil, the salt and the nutmeg to a small pot and heat until the butter is melted and the mixture is very warm. Keep it warm until you add it to the potatoes.
Drain and Mash: When the potatoes are cooked, drain them very well and return the pot to the heat. Cook stirring gently for 2 minutes until all the moisture is gone. Remove the pot from the heat and mash them using a potato masher, or a ricer. You can also pass them through a large sieve, pressing them with the back of a wooden spatula.
Add the grated cheese and the milk mixture gradually folding with a spatula until you get a creamy, silky consistency (you may not need all the milk, but you’ll notice that the potatoes as they sit will absorb a lot of liquid). Taste and adjust the salt.
Serve with chopped chives or green onions. Eat!
For 2.2 pounds (1 kg) peeled potatoes you will need approximately 2.9 pounds (1.3 kg) unpeeled potatoes
For a more intense flavor you can cook the potatoes with the skin on. Use a towel to help you peel them while they’re still hot.
The exact quantity of the milk you’ll need depends on the moisture of the potatoes. Keep adding milk until the mashed potatoes reach the texture of your preference.
For richer taste (and more calories) replace half of the milk with heavy cream.
Other side dishes you’ll love:
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