For ultrafluffy potatoes, Grace Parisi presses them through a ricer. To achieve a similar texture, pass the potatoes through a food mill or a fine-mesh sieve. If you choose to mash them by hand, be gentle; otherwise, the potatoes will turn gluey. Grace offers other creative ideas for fluffy mashed potatoes like Mashed Potatoes with Crispy Shallots and Mashed Potatoes with Butternut Squash.Plus: Ultimate Thanksgiving Guide More Potato Recipes More Delicious Side Dishes
In a large pot, cover the potatoes and garlic with cold water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until tender, about 20 minutes.
Drain the potatoes and garlic in a colander, shaking out the excess water. Add the half-and-half, butter and cheese to the pot and heat until melted; add the thyme. Remove from the heat. Press the potatoes and garlic through a ricer into the pot and season with salt. Stir over moderate heat until very hot. Transfer to a bowl, garnish with thyme sprigs and serve.
The recipe can be made earlier in the day and kept at room temperature; warm over moderate heat, stirring constantly.