Aligot is a comforting dish of cheesy whipped potatoes that originated in the L'Aubrac region of central France. Traditional aligot is made with Tomme d'Auvergne, a creamy young cheese that's nutty and stretchy when melted. We opted for a more accessible combination of shredded Gruyere and fresh mozzarella, resulting in similar texture and flavor. We also added roasted garlic to our version. Top with finely chopped chives and serve right off the stove for a hearty side dish.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut off the top third of the head of garlic to expose the cloves. (Reserve the top part for another use.) Put the bulb on a 12-by-12-inch piece of aluminum foil, drizzle with the olive oil and season with a pinch of salt and several grinds of black pepper. Wrap the foil up and over the garlic, leaving some space between the foil and the exposed garlic cloves and seal the edges. Bake until the garlic cloves are deep golden brown and very tender, 45 to 60 minutes. Cool slightly, then squeeze out the tender cloves (see Cook's Note).
Meanwhile, add the potatoes and bay leaf to a large pot and fill with enough cold water to cover by 1 inch. Season generously with salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower to medium-low and simmer until fork-tender, about 12 minutes. Drain well and discard the bay leaf. Reserve the empty pot.
Pass the potatoes and roasted garlic through a potato ricer or food mill back into the pot. They should be very finely mashed and smooth. Place over medium-low heat and stir in the heavy cream and butter with a wooden spoon until creamy and combined. Add half the Gruyere and mozzarella, stirring vigorously until the cheese is completely melted and incorporated. Add the remaining Gruyere and mozzarella and continue to stir until all the cheese is melted and incorporated and the potatoes are smooth and stretchy. (The mixture should stretch like melted mozzarella cheese.)
Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl, top with chopped chives and serve immediately.
The garlic can be roasted up to 24 hours in advance. After cooling completely, refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use.
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