1First, cook the potatoes.
2Peel and quarter potatoes and keep in cold water until ready to cook (up to 4 hours in advance).
3In a large pot, bring a gallon of water and 2 tablespoons salt to a boil over high heat.
4Add potatoes to boiling water and boil about 15 to 20 minutes, until soft; a knife should go in with almost no resistance. (It is better to overcook than to undercook.)
5While your potatoes are cooking, you can prepare the pancetta (if using). Heat 1 tbsp Colavita Olive Oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
6Drain the potatoes well and return them to the pot. Mash the cooked potatoes with a masher or a fork.
7In a small bowl mix together 3 tbsp Colavita Olive Oil and the milk.
8Add in the oil and milk mixture, a little at a time, to the potato pot. Lightly mix it with the potatoes until it is just blended. Taste for salt and add more of the oil and milk mixture until the potatoes are seasoned and creamy.
9Heat the oven to 400°F and lightly grease the cups of a muffin tin with Colavita Olive Oil.
10Whisk together the mashed potatoes, the eggs, 3/4 cup of cheese, the basil, and pancetta (if using).
11Mound a spoonful of the mixture in each muffin cup. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining 1/4 cup of grated cheese.
12Bake for 20 minutes, or until the potato cups are set, browned on top, and hot through. Let cool for about 5 minutes in the pan, then use a spoon or knife to gently release them from the pan. Serve immediately.
Make ahead notes:
You can bake these and refrigerate for up to 3 days. To reheat and re-crisp: arrange the puffs on a baking sheet and bake at 400°F for about 15 minutes (depending on size).
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