This is a great recipe to use up the last of the basil in the garden. What I enjoyed most about this recipe was how the basil gave the potatoes a freshness that you usually don't get with regular mashed potatoes. This recipe comes from the Barefoot Contessa cookbook How Easy Is That?. I am posting the original recipe below, but I decided to lighten it up using a mix of whole milk and skim milk instead of half and half. If I were making this for a crowd of people or a holiday I would definitely follow the recipe how it was intended.
Potato Basil Puree
2 cups fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
2 pounds large Yukon Gold, red or white boiling potatoes
1 cup half-and-half
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and fill another bowl with ice water. Add the basil leaves to the boiling water and cook for exactly 15 seconds. Remove the basil with a slotted spoon and immediately plunge the leaves into the ice water to set the bright green color. Drain and set aside.
2. Peel the potatoes and cut them in pieces. Add the potatoes to the same pot of boiling water and return to a boil. Cook the potatoes for 20 to 25 minutes, until very tender. Drain and return to the saucepan, and steam over low heat until any remaining water evaporates.
3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the half-and-half and Parmesan cheese until the cream simmers. Place the basil in a food processor fitted with the steel blade and puree. Add the hot cream mixture and process until smooth.
4. With a handheld mixer with the beater attachment or in stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the hot potatoes until they are broken up. Slowly add the hot basil cream, the salt, and pepper and beat until smooth. If the potatoes need to be reheated, cover and cook gently over low heat for a few minutes. Pour into a serving bowl, sprinkle with extra Parmesan cheese, season to taste, and serve hot.