I recently had the chance to attend a potato harvest tour in Idaho. I got to see the full “life cycle” of a potato, from learning about planting, to harvest, to processing, to plate.
As you can imagine, we were given delicious potatoes to eat at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
You’d think that I’d come home and want a break from potatoes for a bit, but that wasn’t the case at all.
Mashed potatoes are my ultimate comfort food. I want them when I’m sick, when I’m recovering from any medical procedure, and when I’ve had a bad day. They make good days even better.
Basically, I just want mashed potatoes all the time, all year ’round.
Today, I’m bringing you a “let’s eat a big bowl of mashed potatoes and call it dinner” recipe. This meal starts with a helping of mashed potatoes, spiked with a generous amount of sharp Parmesan cheese.
While the potatoes are cooking, you have plenty of time to whip up a quick ragu using a combo of sweet and hot Italian sausage (or use all sweet, or all hot, if you prefer), some aromatic vegetables, tomato paste and milk.
The milk is super important here, as it helps make the sausage super tender, super fast (making the ragu taste like you’ve simmered it all day, when you really haven’t).
Ladle the dreamy ragu over the creamy Parmesan mashed potatoes, and you have my dream dinner!
- 1-1/2 pounds Idaho potatoes, peeled, cut into chunks
- 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 carrot, finely diced
- 1 celery stalk, finely diced
- 1/2 medium white onion, finely diced
- 1/2 pound hot Italian sausage, casings removed if necessary
- 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed if necessary
- 2-1/2 cups whole milk, divided
- 1/2 cup tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese, plus additional for garnish
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
- Place potato chunks in a large pot and add just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in large high-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, carrot, celery and onion; cook 4 to 5 minutes or until vegetables are golden brown, stirring frequently. Add sausage; cook 7 to 9 minutes or until browned, stirring and breaking up sausage with side of spoon occasionally.
- Stir in 2 cups milk, tomato paste and ½ teaspoon salt; heat to boiling over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, simmer 8 to 10 minutes or until thickened.
- When potatoes are tender, drain well and place in large bowl. Add cheese, butter, pepper, remaining 1/2 cup milk and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; beat with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.
- Divide potatoes between 6 bowls or plates; divide ragu over potatoes. Serve garnished with parsley and additional cheese.