Parmesan & Pesto Potato Swirls

If you like garlic roasted mashed potatoes…………
………… you’re gonna  LOVE these yummy potato swirls. If you’re a regular visitor at The Cafe, you may have noticed that I enjoy preparing mashed potatoes in this fun swirly style. It’s a wonderful trick to have up your sleeve for more reasons than one; not only can you prepare these potatoes early in the day, you can actually prepare them a day, a week or even a month ahead of time and store them in the freezer (no, no, that’s not why they have that green color!).

Another wonderful reason to swirl your potatoes is that it makes them look so special.  Simple grilled meat, fish or poultry turns into party fare when paired with these lovely swirly spuds! And guess what? With a batch tucked away in your freezer, you can turn any weekday family night into party night – why not make your family feel as special as they really are?!

All you need is a pastry bag or a heavy-duty zippered freezer bag and a large star decorating tip. If using a plastic freezer bag, just snip off a corner, insert the decorating tip and load up the bag with the potatoes. Twist the top shut and start swirling! It’s fun and if you make a mistake or don’t like the way your swirls look, just stuff them back in the bag and start again. Before you know it you’ll be a swirling expert!

Parmesan & Pesto Potato Swirls

3 pounds yukon gold or russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
2 tablespoons butter
1-2 teaspoons sea salt, to taste
¼ cup whole milk or half & half
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons pesto*, extra for drizzling
extra virgin olive oil, to thin pesto for drizzling


1. Place potatoes in a medium-large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cook until potatoes are very tender, 15-20 minutes. Drain well and return to pot.

2. Add butter, sea salt and milk (start with 2-3 tablespoons) and mash with a potato masher till smooth and fluffy. Stir in parmesan and pesto. Add more milk as needed – the amount will be determined by the density of your potatoes. Also, for swirling, you want the mashed potatoes fairly loose but not runny.

3. Butter 8-10 small dishes or ramekins. Insert a large star tip into a medium size decorating bag (available at craft stores, kitchen stores and many Super Walmart’s in the cake decorating section), Alternatively, cut a small snip off of the corner of a large heavy-duty zippered plastic bag and insert a large star decorator tip. I use a Wilton 1M and spread the points just a bit to make the opening larger. I prefer the decorating bags as they are much stronger and potatoes can put a lot of pressure on the bag.

4. Place the decorator bag or zippered bag with the tip inserted into a deep, narrow bowl with tip end down. Folding top edges over the rim of the bowl, fill bag about 3/4 full with potatoes. Twist the top of the bag a few times to enclose potatoes and pipe into small bowls, as equally as possible. Bake at 350˚F for about 10-15 minutes or until warmed through and just starting to brown. Combine 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil with 1 teaspoon of pesto. Drizzle swirls with the pesto mixture Serve immediately or allow to cool and freeze, uncovered. When frozen wrap well with plastic wrap or foil.

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