Place potatoes in a large pan with water to cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until tender when pierced with a thin-bladed knife, 20 to 30 minutes.
Heat half and half in microwave.
Process unpeeled potatoes through a food mill into a medium bowl. (Or, using a potholder, peel and drop them into a bowl. Puree using a potato masher or standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.) Stir in half and half and a sprinkling of salt (or beat, if using mixer) until smooth and fluffy. (Can be cooled and refrigerated in an airtight container up to 2 days.)
Thirty minutes before serving, microwave until warm. Transfer to a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir in butter to melt. Cover with plastic wrap. Keep warm until serving time.
Copyright 2004 USA WEEKEND and columnist Pam Anderson. All rights reserved.
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