Traditional pommes aligot, from Aubrac, France, add enough cheese to mashed potatoes until they stretch like fondue. If you aggressively stir mozzarella cheese into a luxuriously creamy broccoli purée, you can get the same effect. This decadent side is a great accompaniment to a fancy steak dinner or your next holiday spread, and makes an indulgent filling to a baked potato. For best results, be sure to use only the deep-green tops of the broccoli florets. Using too much of the watery, light-green stem yields a purée that’s loose and lacks lusciousness. The rest of the broccoli can be used in an entire other dish: seared into steaks, shaved into a salad, chopped and tossed into stir fries, or employed in almost any recipe that calls for a head of broccoli.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 4large broccoli heads (about 3 pounds)
- 4tablespoons unsalted butter
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 1cup heavy cream, plus more as needed
- 6ounces low-moisture, whole-milk mozzarella, grated
Step 1Cut the thick stems off the broccoli and reserve for another use. Place the broccoli crown cut-side down. Using a sharp knife and following the shape of the crown, shave off only the dark green tops of the florets, avoiding any stems which can affect the creaminess of the purée. (You’ll need 5 to 6 cups shaved broccoli.) Reserve the naked florets for another use.
Step 2Melt the butter in a medium, heavy pot over medium heat. Add the shaved broccoli and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until bright green and softened, 6 to 8 minutes.
Step 3Add the cream and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring frequently, until most of the cream is absorbed by the broccoli, 3 to 5 minutes.
Step 4Transfer broccoli mixture to a blender and purée on high until completely smooth, adding a tablespoon or two of cream to get it moving if necessary, and periodically stopping to stir the mixture with a spatula.
Step 5Transfer the broccoli purée back to the same pot and place over medium heat. Add a handful of cheese and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon or stiff silicone spatula until thoroughly melted. Repeat with the remaining cheese, waiting until the first addition has integrated before adding the next handful. Keep stirring vigorously until the mixture is stretchy. (Do not let the mixture come to a simmer, but be sure it’s hot enough for the cheese to melt or it won’t stretch.)
Step 6Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.