A Taste of Italy Dinner

I was honored and happy to cook dinner for a group of friends recently in Fresno, CA.


The theme of the evening was Taste of Italy, which was the perfect excuse for me to make sausage and pasta from scratch, two of my favorite things.

However, the mashed potatoes I served with skirt steak along with a risotto with fresh mushrooms seemed to stand out in several guests minds. The risotto and pomme puree have two things in common, butter and cream (lots of butter and cream).


I try not to freak people out when I make mashed potatoes but I subscribe to the Joel Robuchon ideal of pomme puree. I love those potatoes and have had them a number of times. 

2 Pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes
1 cup plus of Straus Dairy Cream
225 Grams or 1/2 block of McClelland's Butter (butter comes in 1 pound blocks)

I'm not being all fancy by giving you the brand names of the butter and cream, but I've been using both for my recipe for several years and really like the results.

Put peeled and cut potatoes in a saucepan until covered with water and one tablespoon coarse salt. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until a knife slips in and out of the potatoes easily and cleanly, about 15 minutes.

Drain the potatoes and leave them in a colander over the saucepan and allow the potatoes to steam and drain any residual liquid. 

Turn the heat under the potatoes to low and either put the potatoes through a ricer or get some electric beaters and put potatoes in the saucepan and incorporate the butter bit by bit, stirring it in on high speed for a smooth, creamy finish. Pour in the cream slowly until all the milk has been absorbed. Turn off the heat and taste for salt.