Thursday, August 25, 2011

Baked Potato with Sausage and Arugula Sauce

I know this meal sounds sort of weird. I was quite skeptical when I read the description on the tv guide. But after watching Giada make it, I thought it was worth trying myself. I'm super glad I did too, because it's one of the only recipes of Giada's that tasted as good as it looked on tv (I've had significantly more luck/success with Rachel Ray and the Barefoot Contessa). Anyway, this meal is awesome because it has lots of great nutrition in it, is fast, and so unbelievably filling. Seriously, I couldn't finish my potato and that was my entire dinner. But not for a lack of trying, it was so tasty, I kept eating long after I was full because it was so darn tasty!.

Baked Potato with Sausage and Arugula Sauce
adapted from the Food Network

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1/2 pound sweet Italian-style sausage, casings removed (you could use spicy if you were so inclined, or turkey sausage as well)
1 1/2 cups tomato-basil or marinara sauce
3 cups baby arugula or spinach leaves (I used a mixed green bag from the store, worked just fine)
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese (4 ounces), at room temperature (the grocery store didn't have this, so I used the new Philadelphia Cooking Creme, worked great)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
4 baked russet potatoes, 8 to 10 ounces each

I started by washing all four potatoes and then poking them with forks. Then I wrapped each one in tin foil.

I baked them like this at 350 for an hour and 5 minutes. Unfortunately, they were still a firm for my liking and I was getting quite impatient. So I microwaved them for about 5 more minutes and then they were the right consistency. Moral of the story: if your potatoes are large and you don't have an hour and a half to bake the potatoes, just microwave them.

Anyway, when the potatoes had about a half an hour left in the oven, I started with the sauce. I heated up some olive oil, then added the onions and let them cook for a few minutes. I then added the garlic, salt and pepper and cooked for another minute.

While the onions were cooking, I removed the casings from the sausage and then added them to the pot once the onions were tender. Using my wooden spoon, I broke them into pieces as they cooked.

Once the sausages were cooked through, I added the sauce and the greens. At first it will seem like there are way too many greens, but keep working them into the sauce and they will wilt and reduce like crazy.

Once the greens were wilted, I added the cooking creme and stirred until it was incorporated. Then, I turned off the heat, added a little more salt and pepper, as well as the Parmesan and stirred again.

When the potatoes were ready, I cut them in half like so, leaving a little bit connected at the bottom so the sauce doesn't go straight through to the plate.

Then I added a big heaping pile of sauce to the potatoes and burned my tongue several times because I was too hungry to wait. It was delicious!

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