Rustic Potato Skins with Basil Cream Dip

Thanks to Julee Rosso, Silver Plate Cookbook author, Michigan Travel Ideas contributor, and owner of the Wickwood Inn in Saugatuck. Julee offers up great advice on cooking and entertaining in her series, Lessons from an Innkeeper.

Visit our Recipes post for more info on how to contribute your own recipe to share with our readers!

Prep: 35 minutes       Bake: 70 minutes

15 small round red potatoes (2 pounds)
1½ 8-ounce packages (12 ounces) cream cheese, softened
3 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese, grated (¾ cup)
¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese (3 ounces)
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼  cup purchased or homemade basil pesto
¼  cup olive oil
1   tablespoon snipped fresh rosemary
½  teaspoon sea salt, kosher salt or ¼ teaspoon salt

1. Scrub potatoes thoroughly with a brush; pat dry. Place on a large shallow baking pan. Bake, uncovered, in a 400° oven for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tender. Remove baking pan from oven; cool potatoes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°.

2. For dip: In a medium mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano, mozzarella, mayonnaise and pesto with an electric mixer until combined. Evenly spread mixture in 9-inch pie plate. Bake, uncovered, in 350° oven 30 minutes, or until bubbly.

3. For potato skins: When potatoes are cool enough to handle, use the tines of a fork and your thumbs to break each potato into 3 or 4 irregular (rustic-looking) pieces. Use a teaspoon to carefully scoop out the inside of each potato piece, leaving a shell about 1⁄4 inch thick. (Cover and chill the leftover white portion for another use.)

4. Place potatoes, skin side down, in a single layer on a large shallow baking pan. Drizzle with oil; sprinkle with rosemary. Return to oven (time them to be finished with dip coming out of the oven) and bake 20 to 25 minutes more, or until crispy and heated.

5. Place dip in bowl in the center of a serving platter. Surround with potato skins. Serve immediately.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.