Mashed potatoes are (in many minds, including mine) a perfect food. And yet nothing makes a favorite comfort food better than the addition of cheese. And when cheese and potatoes meet up, only good things can happen. My family is eternally delighted when a bowl of these cheesy mashed potatoes hit the table, and no matter what else is for dinner, it’s just destined to be a good dinner.
(Remember I mentioned a little something about working with Roth cheese on a series of wonderfully cheesy recipes? The story continues….)
Fontina is a cow’s milk cheese, sometimes made in the Italian Alps, but Roth also makes a wonderful version the Swedish-style, which is smooth and creamy and slightly tart – a super versatile cheese. Super melt-friendly, too. But also great with a sliced up apple or pear or on the side of a platter of beautifully grilled vegetables.
While Roth is justifiably proud of all of their highly-admired cheeses, Grand Cru is probably their pride and joy. It’s made with the freshest cow’s milk in Copper vats, in the centuries old Alpine style. It’s won loads of awards – kind of the Michael Phelps of cheese. It adds wonderful depth of flavor to these mashed potatoes. Give it a nibble with a beer and a handful of almonds to appreciate the flavor on its own.
You can use lower fat milk if you want, or you can use all half-and-half or even cream if you’re going to town. Pick, choose, and combine the milk and cream choices according to the audience, the occasion, and how indulgent you are feeling.
We usually think about what to serve on the side of a main course. I think if you are sold on this recipe, you might be looking for what to serve next to these mashed potatoes with cheese. Greek Turkey Meatloaf, Roast Beef with Mustard Garlic Crust and Horseradish Sauce, almost any lamb dish you can think of, Garlicky Roast Chicken (skip the roasted potatoes).
Cheesy Mashed Potatoes
- Coarse salt for cooking the potatoes plus more to season the potatoes to taste
- 8 large Idaho or Yukon Gold potatoes 3 to 3 1/2 pounds total, peeled and halved
- 1 cup whole milk
- ½ cup light or heavy cream or half and half
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into pieces, at room temperature
- ½ cup grated Roth Fontina
- ½ cup grated Roth Grand Cru
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Fill a large stockpot with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add a generous amount of salt, return to a boil, then add the potatoes (the water should cover the potatoes by at least 2 inches). Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium and continue to simmer for 15 or so minutes, partially covered, until the potatoes are very tender when pierced with a knife.
- Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot, and place them back over medium-low heat. Toss the potatoes in the hot pan occasionally for 3 minutes or so until the moisture is all gone and they have begun to dry out (but not to brown). Remove the pan from the stove, and put the potatoes through a ricer or a food mill, or mash with a potato masher until they are smooth, or as smooth as you like them. Return them to the pot. Meanwhile, heat the milk and the cream together in a microwave safe bowl or pitcher for about one minute, or in a small saucepan on the stovetop, until hot.
- Add the hot milk and cream mixture to the potatoes along with the butter and stir with a wooden spoon or a whisk until well combined. Blend in the Fontina and the Grand Cru, adding the cheeses by the handful, and stirring after each addition until the cheese melts into the potatoes. Add salt and black pepper to taste, and stir over medium low heat until everything is hot and well blended. Serve hot.
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