Pesto Smashed Potatoes

Active time: 15 min. Total time:45 min.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6 (serving size: 4 to 5 potatoes)

Right out of the oven, our Pesto Smashed Potatoes are heavenly. They’re crispy and salty on the outside, and creamy on the inside, and the bright, green pesto takes these golden brown potatoes to a whole new level. They may look fussy, but they’re really quite simple and so worth it. If you don’t want to make your own pesto, just use your favorite store-bought brand. Don’t worry if the potatoes break up a little in the oven—those tiny, crispy pieces are starchy, salty gold. Serve them with grilled or roasted chicken or fish, or any protein of your choice.


  • 1 1/2 pounds baby Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 3 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 5 tablespoons toasted pine nuts, divided
  • 3 1/2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves, divided
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 450°F. Add potatoes to a large saucepan, and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until almost tender when pierced with a fork, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain potatoes, and spread on a large baking sheet. Using a flat-bottomed cup, gently press potatoes until they begin to crack, being careful not to fully break apart (it’s okay if some do). 

Step 2

Pour 1/3 cup of the olive oil over potatoes, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper. Toss to evenly coat, and spread in a single layer. Bake in preheated oven until crispy and browned, 25 to 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Step 3

Meanwhile, chop 2 ounces of the cheese into chunks. Add to bowl of a food processor with 1/4 cup of the pine nuts. Pulse until finely chopped, about 5 pulses. Add 3 cups of the basil leaves, and pulse until finely chopped, about 8 pulses. Add lemon juice, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. With processor running, drizzle in remaining 1/3 cup olive oil, and process until smooth and emulsified, about 1 minute. 

Step 4

Transfer potatoes to a serving platter, and dollop with pesto. Shave remaining cheese over potatoes. Garnish with remaining 1/2 cup basil leaves and 1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts. Serve immediately.

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