You know those recipes you absolutely fall in love with? The ones that surprise and delight? This is one of them! Ina's recipe for Basil Potato Puree captivated me from the moment I saw the gorgeous green puree in her book.
This is a side dish that completely steals the show with it's palate pleasing flavors. The hints of basil, Parmesan cheese, and black pepper make this puree quite complex. It's the kind of thing you keep going back for. In fact, it's so pleasing you'll be trying to figure out what else you can serve it with and how often you can put it on your table.
Ina begins the recipe by blanching basil leaves, both to soften the leaves and retain their gorgeous green color. She then warms a mixture of half & half and Parmesan cheese on the stove top until the cheese melts into the cream. The blanched basil leaves are placed in a blender, along with the warmed cream and cheese mixture and blended to make a lovely green cream mixture for the potatoes. Once the potatoes are cooked through, the basil cream is added and the whole thing is mixed with a handheld mixer right in the pan. The result is a glorious side dish that steals the show. I highly recommend this side dish, especially if you have loads of basil in your garden! Be sure to follow the recipe exactly as written, the measurements are absolutely perfect, right down to the addition of the salt and pepper.
Basil Potato Puree
Adapted from How Easy Is That? by Ina Garten
2 cups fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
2 pounds large Yukon Gold or white boiling potatoes
1 cup half-and-half
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil and fill a bowl with ice water. Add the basil leaves to the boiling water and cook for exactly 15 seconds. Remove the basil with a slotted spoon and immediately plunge the leaves into the ice water to set the bright green color. Drain and set aside.
Peel the potatoes and cut them in quarters. Add the potatoes to the same pot of boiling water and return to a boil. Cook the potatoes for 20 to 25 minutes, until very tender. Drain well, return to the saucepan, and steam over low heat until any remaining water evaporates.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the half-and-half and Parmesan cheese until the cream simmers. Place the basil in a food processor fitted with the steel blade and puree. Add the hot cream mixture and process until smooth.
With a handheld mixer with the beater attachment, beat the hot potatoes in the pot until they are broken up. Slowly add the hot basil cream, the salt, and pepper and beat until smooth. If the potatoes need to be reheated, cover and cook gently over low heat for a few minutes. Pour into a serving bowl, sprinkle with extra parmesan cheese, season to taste, and serve hot.
I am submitting this to my friend Roz @ La Bella Vita for her Fresh Food Friday/Seasonal Saturday Event.