IDAHO POTATO COMMISSION
From: Waldy Malouf, Beacon, New York City.
Yield: 6 servings.
to taste, salt
11/2 pounds Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 cup + 2 Tbsp. milk
1 cup + 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
3 large garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 cup grated Romano cheese
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. fresh goat cheese
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. minced shallots
to taste, freshly ground black pepper
12-oz. box large pasta shells
Preheat oven to 450°F. Bring large pot of salted water to a boil for pasta. In another pot, put potatoes with enough water to cover them by 2 inches. Bring potatoes to a boil and boil, uncovered, until they are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium heat, combine milk, cream and garlic cloves and bring to a simmer. Pour 11/2 cups of cream mixture into heatproof measuring cup and set aside. Add butter to milk and cream remaining in pot and let melt. When pasta water boils, add shells and cook until al dente, about 2 minutes less than package time indicates. Drain pasta and let cool slightly.
Drain potatoes and return them to pot. Use a potato masher to mash potatoes over low heat, sitrring until they are smooth and dry. Turn off the heat. Add cream mixture to potatoes and stir until smooth. Stir in 1/2 cup of the Romano, goat cheese and shallots, and season with pepper to taste and additional salt if desired. Use a spoon to stuff shells with the potato mixture. (Alternately, transfer potato mixture to a large resealable bag with one corner snipped off and pipe it into the shells.) Line up the shells in a large casserole and pour reserved milk and cream over them to reach 1/2" up the sides of the casserole. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of Romano and bake until crisp and golden, about 15 to 20 minutes.