Potato mozzarella pie came about years ago because there are never enough ways to feed my son mashed potatoes. My son Tommy loves mashed potatoes. I kid you not; I cook the whole five-pound bag of potatoes into mashed potatoes just for one dinner. If I don’t serve the entire five pounds at one sitting, my son will eat everyone else’s portion.
I had seen an Italian foreign film in which the mother in a scene in the story was making a potato pie. The whole time I was watching the movie, I was trying to figure out how she was making it.
After seeing that film, I started asking all my Italian friends if anyone had a potato pie recipe, but no one heard of it. This was driving me crazy. I checked all my Italian cookbooks and came up with nothing.
I also have a huge selection of cut-out newspaper and magazine recipes on my cookbook shelf that I have been collecting all my life. One day about six months after seeing the movie, I was organizing my cut-out recipes (again) when I came across a potato pie recipe from what newspaper and what year, I have no idea. I was so excited! When you love to cook like I do, this is the same as an archaeologist finding a rare undiscovered bone in a digging excavation.
I immediately removed this recipe from the pile of other recipes and moved it to the top of the pile that is on my kitchen windowsill above my sink. This is where I keep the recipes I want to try until I actually make them. Every time I wash my dishes or go to the sink, these recipes are eye level and stare at me until I make one of them. That is called incentive!
The next time I go food shopping, I check the pile for the recipe I want to try. Then I make sure I have all the ingredients in the house, and if not, I add them to the shopping list. So now I have to try the recipe.
This was not the case with the potato pie recipe. This recipe sat on the kitchen window sill for only a half a day. Immediately, I checked for all the ingredients and then went food shopping for what was missing. After making my personal alterations to the recipe, I was ready to begin to prepare it.
I tasted it first, and I loved it! My husband was next, and he is tough. No holding back or worrying about my feelings, so I knew I passed the test because he loved it, too.
Tommy wasn’t home until later. “What’s for dinner, Ma?” “Potato pie.” “What!” The expression on his face was as if I killed someone. Why did I have to touch his beloved mashed potatoes? He hates when I try new recipes. He just wants plain meat and potatoes, no pie.
His love of potatoes overcame him. He knew he had to try the pie if he wanted to eat his beloved mashed potatoes. Guess what? He liked it. Tommy liked it. Not as much as plain, old mashed potatoes, but he had two helpings of potato pie and that’s all a mother can ask for!
My son asking for a second piece of pie is a little slice of heaven on earth.
Potato Mozzarella Pie
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, diced small
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks, about 10 potatoes
- 7 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup homemade bread crumbs from Italian bread
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
- 1/4 pound sliced prosciutto, diced small
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Oven to 375 degrees.
- Marinate the mozzarella cubes in a bowl with olive oil and salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Put potatoes in a large pot, cover with cold water, sprinkle in a dash of salt and bring to a boil. Cover partly, lower heat to medium and cook until tender (stab with fork to check if done; about 15 to 25 minutes)
- Grease an 8-inch springform pan (cheesecake pan) with 1 tablespoon of butter. Coat the bottom and sides of pan with your homemade bread crumbs from the Italian bread. Leave some bread crumbs for topping later.
- When potatoes are done, drain them. Rice potatoes into a bowl and beat in 4 tablespoons of butter. Add the Parmesan and Romano cheese, eggs, prosciutto, parsley and a little pepper to taste. Mix well.
- Put half of the potato mixture into bottom of pan working some of the potatoes up the sides to form a well. Fill the well with your marinated mozzarella cubes. Top with the remaining potatoes. Pat down gently, sprinkle with the remaining bread crumbs and dot with the last 2 tablespoons of butter.
- Bake until golden brown, 40 to 55 minutes. Let cool for about 15 minutes before removing sides of the springform pan. Serve warm, sliced into pie wedges.
- ENJOY—Mozzarella is not just for pizza anymore, it’s for potatoes too!
Mariann Raftery, creator of Somebody's Mom blog, cooks up comfort food recipes for families here at home, as well as sending homemade cookie care packages to our American soldiers overseas. Somebody's Mom Cooking videos at http://www.youtube.com, search "Thesomebodysmom".