Mashed Potatoes with Sautéed Zucchini

Puré di Patate con Zucchine Saltate al Burro

Once you’ve had a taste of puré—Italian mashed potatoes made from good boiling potatoes with butter, milk, and Parmesan cheese—you’d be likely to think they need no improvement. And my family and I would agree. We are so fond of them and have them so often, that I decided the time had come to try something slightly different.

On a morning that I had just got some lovely zucchini, I cut them into thin sticks and sautéed them in butter; and when the mashed potatoes were ready, I stirred in the zucchini. Thereafter, our new version of mashed potatoes became such a favorite that when eventually I returned to making them the original way my husband asked, “What happened? Didn’t you find any zucchini today?”

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boiling potatoes
  • ¾ pound young, glossy zucchini, small, but not miniatures
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened at room temperature
  • Salt
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Method

  1. Wash the potatoes, put them in a saucepan with cold water, cover, and bring to a boil. Cook approximately 30 minutes at a steady but not too fast boil, until they feel tender when prodded with a fork.
  2. While the potatoes are boiling, soak the zucchini for about 20 minutes in a basin of cold water and clean. After trimming away their ends, slice them lengthwise in half; then cut them into thin sticks, ½ inch wide or less.
  3. Choose a skillet, preferably nonstick, that can contain all the zucchini sticks more or less on one layer without much overlapping. Put in 1 tablespoon of butter and the zucchini, sprinkle with salt, and turn on the heat to medium high. Cook, turning the zucchini over from time to time, until they are tender but not mushy. Take the pan off the heat.
  4. When the potatoes are done, drain them and peel them while still hot. Mash them through a food mill or a potato ricer directly into a medium saucepan. Mix into them 2 tablespoons of butter, stirring until the butter is entirely dissolved.
  5. Heat the milk in a small saucepan until the first pearly bubbles form at its edge, but do not let it boil. Add the hot milk to the potatoes, swirling it in vigorously and thoroughly.
  6. Add the grated Parmesan, mixing quickly to incorporate it smoothly Add salt to taste, mixing to distribute it evenly.
  7. Add the zucchini to the mashed potatoes in the pan, turning the mixture over several times. Transfer to a very warm serving bowl and bring to the table at once.

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