These work well for when you want to serve mashed potatoes, but the main dish doesn't involve gravy. I use a bit of beef stock to boost the flavor, but a good chicken stock or vegetable stock will also do nicely. The roasted onions and garlic are actually rather mild, providing a nice compliment to the fresh ricotta. You can finish either with a small spoonful of crème fraiche or another dollop of ricotta. Enjoy!! ;o) —AntoniaJames
yellow or sweet onions
cloves of garlic, crushed but not peeled
Olive oil and salt for roasting
large white or red potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 1/2 cups
homemade beef stock (substitute the best chicken stock you can find if you don’t have homemade beef stock)
Salt and pepper to taste
crème fraiche, or additional fresh ricotta
Put the peeled and quartered potatoes in a heavy saucepan with the beef stock and enough cold water to cover them by at least an inch. (Please see the note below, about the beef stock used for this recipe.) Make sure that the beef stock is well strained. Boil the potatoes until just tender.
Cut the tops and bottoms off the onions, remove the outer layer, and slice horizontally into fat rings, about ½ inch thick. Don’t bother separating the inner rings, but don’t worry if they come out while you’re putting the onions on the pan. Put the onions on the pan, too. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the onions and garlic, then drizzle a bit of olive oil over all of it. Toss lightly.
Roast for 10 minutes. Turn the onions and garlic over on the pan, moving any onions that are browning more quickly into the center.
Roast for another five minutes, or until the onion is very soft and starting to turn a medium brown color on the edges, then remove from the oven. Using a small knife or your fingers, pull the the cooked garlic flesh from the skins, cutting off the hard ends if necessary. Don’t worry about getting it all.
Process the onions and garlic in a food processor until they resemble a thin sauce.
Add the ricotta and half-and-half and pulse a few times to incorporate. If the potatoes are not done cooking, remove the onion mixture from the food processor and put them in a covered bowl.
When the potatoes are tender, drain them. (Save the cooking liquid for making bread.) Return the potatoes to the hot pan and cook for ten or 15 seconds, to dry the potatoes out.
Mash by hand using whatever method you prefer. Add the roasted onion and ricotta mixture and stir well. Add salt and pepper to taste, heat very gently to combine the flavors for a minute or two, adding more stock if you need it. You could also add half-and-half, if you prefer.
Stir in the crème fraiche or additional ricotta immediately before serving.
Here's a note about the beef stock. If you don't have decent homemade beef broth, use the best quality of chicken broth you can find. ;o)
When I'm not working (negotiating transactions for internet companies), or outside enjoying the gorgeous surroundings here in the San Francisco Bay Area, I'm likely to be cooking, shopping for food, planning my next culinary experiment, or researching, voraciously, whatever interests me. In my kitchen, no matter what I am doing -- and I actually don't mind cleaning up -- I am deeply grateful for having the means to create, share with others and eat great food. Life is very good. ;o)