Italian "Shepard's Pie" with Roasted Garlic Mashed

I'm pretty excited about this recipe.  I thought of the idea on Friday at work, and I told myself I was going to make it this weekend.  I didn't know exactly what it was going to entail, but once I get to the grocery store, I end up figuring it out, aisle by aisle.  I stuck with some traditional flavors with the carrots, onion, and celery, but had to throw the "Italian" spin in with broccoli rabe, pork, and veal.  I spiced up the mashed potatoes with some traditional Italian cheeses, and hit it at the end with a sprinkle of dried basil.  All-in-all, the flavors were awesome-sauce, and the dish came out great!

What You'll Need:
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped + 1 full garlic bulb
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lb. ground pork
  • 1/2 lb. ground veal
  • 1/4 cup white onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup carrots, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup celery, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe, trimmed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine 
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 5 lb. Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1/2 cup milk or cream
  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/8 tsp. dried basil
  • Salt and pepper

1.  Start by roasting your garlic for the mashed potatoes.  Peel off the outer skin of the bulb.  Make sure the cloves stay intact.  Cut a small portion of the top off the bulb so you can see the cloves.  Drizzle with a touch of extra virgin olive oil and loosely wrap bulb in foil.  Roast on 400 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until soft to the touch.  When it comes out, squeeze the end of the bulb, and the roasted garlic will simply fall out.  Set aside.

2.  Coat the bottom of a pot with the olive oil.  To the pot, add the pork and veal and saute until browned through.  To that, add chopped garlic, onion, carrots, and celery.  Mix to incorporate and add the chopped broccoli rabe.  Pour white wine over the broccoli rabe and cover.  Saute until broccoli rabe cooks down until soft and wilted.  Add 1 tablespoon of tomato paste and stir well.  Transfer to oven-safe dish.

3.  Meanwhile, boil potatoes until very soft.  Drain and return to hot pot.  Add the roasted garlic, milk, cheeses, butter, basil, and salt and pepper.  Mix with a hand mixer until smooth.  Transfer the potatoes to a large plastic Ziploc bag, and snip a hole in the bottom corner.  Pipe the mashed potatoes over the meat mixture in any fashion you'd like.  (I didn't use all 5 pounds of potatoes, I probably had about 1-1.5 pounds leftover.  But I like leftovers!)  Transfer the dish to a 375-degree oven and bake until the tops of the mashed potatoes have browned.  Sprinkle with some extra basil and enjoy!


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