It’s hard to improve mashed potatoes, I mean they’re carbs mixed with butter, so basically perfection in a side dish! I love to experiment with little tweaks to my favorite Thanksgiving dishes and had the zany idea to give my classic mashed potato recipe a Cacio e Pepe twist! I started with peeled russet potatoes and cooked them until they’re tender, while reserving a bit of the starchy potato water. When you make cacio e pepe, the starchy pasta water is key to a silky sauce! In a pan of melted butter and lots of cracked black pepper, I whisked in fresh parmesan cheese with the starchy potato water and a tiny bit of heavy cream to create a gooey, nutty, cheesy sauce that gets poured over the hot potatoes and mashed together. Mashing the potatoes by hand is KEY to getting them light and fluffy (I use this masher). In a recipe like this where the ingredients are so simple, quality makes a big difference – spring for good parmesan cheese and a high-quality butter (I like Kerrygold!), they’ll add so much flavor to the dish! Get the full recipe below:

Cacio e Pepe Style Mashed Potatoes.
Serves: 6-8 Servings
  • 2lbs of Russet Potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • ½ Cup of reserved potato water
  • 6 Tbsp of Butter, plus more for topping
  • ½ Cup of Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 3 Tbsp. of Heavy Cream
  • Salt and Pepper
  1. Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil and cook the peeled and cubed potatoes until fork tender. Drain the water when done cooking and reserve ½ cup of the starchy potato water.
  2. Melt butter in a saucepan and crack about 1tsp of fresh black pepper into the pan. When butter is melted and fragrant, whisk the reserved potato water, parmesan cheese and heavy cream into the pan. Whisk until the sauce is smooth and silky.
  3. Pour the silky parmesan sauce over the hot, cooked potatoes and mash until your desired texture is reached. Season to taste with more salt and pepper, and top with another pat of butter before serving.