Cheesy Potato Broccoli Torta

We eat a lot of vegetables in my house, and my usual way to prepare them is by simply roasting the cleaned, diced vegetables in olive oil with seasonings. I do enjoy combining vegetables as well, and love trying out new recipe ideas so when I was planning on cooking up some potatoes and broccoli last week, I decided to create a sort of torta, or baked casserole. I sautéed some diced onions, garlic, and pancetta that I folded into mashed potatoes and broccoli along with grated Parmesan cheese. After spreading the mixture into a casserole dish, I topped it with seasoned fresh breadcrumbs and baked it until it was crispy and lightly browned creating a rustic vegetable torta of sorts.

My husband decided that this dish was a keeper after the first spoonful, and I loved how flavorful this basic mashed potato and broccoli dish turned out. This veggie side dish would be great served with roasted meats, poultry, or sausages, and best of all can be prepared ahead of time and just baked before serving. If you plan to prepare this dish ahead of time, you can refrigerate it unbaked until needed. Remove it from the refrigerator at least an hour before you bake it so it comes to room temperature. Since it was refrigerated, this torta may require additional baking time, so simply cover it with aluminum foil if the top has browned before the torta has heated completely. Though I prepared this dish to serve it the day it was made, it was just as delicious reheated the second day.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2014

Cheesy Potato Broccoli Torta

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 Pounds Russet Potatoes, Peeled & Cut Into Large Dice
  • 1 Medium Head Of Broccoli Cut Into Pieces
  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 Cup Milk
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Small Onion, Diced
  • 4 Strips Bacon or Pancetta, Diced
  • 2 Garlic cloves, Minced
  • 1 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

Topping:

  • 3/4 Cup Fresh Breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 Teaspoons Olive Oil

Directions:

  1. Place the potatoes in a pot of lightly salted water and bring to a boil.
  2. Cook until the potatoes are just tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the broccoli to the potatoes and cook for 5 minutes more.
  4. While the potatoes are cooking, heat the olive oil in a frying pan and once hot, add the onions and bacon, then cook over medium heat until the onions are translucent and the bacon is lightly browned, about 5 to 6 minutes.
  5. Set aside.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. Drain the potatoes and broccoli well, then add the cream, milk, salt and pepper and using a potato masher, smash the mixture until blended.
  8. Stir in the onion mixture along with the cheese until mixed.
  9. Lightly grease an 8 to 9 inch oven-proof dish (I used a 9 inch ceramic pie plate), then add the potato mixture.
  10. In a small bowl, mix together all the topping ingredients with your fingertips until blended.
  11. Sprinkle the topping mixture over the potatoes evenly, then bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the potatoes are piping hot and the top is golden brown.
  12. Serve immediately.