26 April 2013

IHCC - Ugly Food From A Lovely Lady

This week's I Heart Cooking Club is a potluck affair - I decided to look around at the other chefs that the club has concentrated on over time ... and ... oh, look! Giada de Laurentiis! How can a woman who looks that good eat the killer recipes that she comes up with and remain looking that good? She must take nano-bites and eat salad the rest of the time! Take this recipe for baked potatoes with sausage and arugula.

Ah, the lowly potato ... baked to steamy perfection in its jacket. It gets pinched open and topped with a cheesy gooey sauce that's full of Italian flavour! Ugly frumpy-looking food with big taste! I made the full recipe of sausage and arugula sauce, but baked only two potatoes - enough for SB and myself. My idea is that weekend pizza will be a variation on the theme, topped with the rest of the sauce and more greens and veg.

A mountain of fresh crinkled kale got wilted down with garlic and red pepper flakes to surround these taters.

I dressed up the dinner table a bit too, as who can resist daffodils and forsythia at this time of year ?!

And then, we sat down to a cozy dinner of 'ugly food' from a lovely lady. Thanks Giada, for another winning recipe! I'll let you know how the pizza comes out!

Note: It occurred to SB and I that this sauce plopped atop tiny new potatoes would make excellent party snacks. I can see the little potatoes halved, with a cocktail skewer pushed through the lower round section and a dollop of this sauce poked into the potato half ... a perfect little mouthful. Easy to make up in batches too, to keep warm platters of snacks circulating. Yum.

Giada’s Baked Potatoes with Sausage and Arugula Sauce


4 large baking Russets
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, small dice
1 tsp. Kosher salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ lb. sweet or spicy Italian sausage or turkey sausage
1 ½ c. good Italian marinara sauce spiced with basil
3 c. baby arugula leaves, washed and spun dry
½ c. Mascarpone cheese
½ c. good quality freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. flat leaf parsley, chopped

Making the Dish:

  1. Wash and wrap the potatoes in foil. Bake in a 375° F oven  until they have ‘give’ when squeezed.
  2. While the potatoes bake, make the sauce. Place the olive oil in a deep fry pan and add the onion, the salt, and the pepper. Sauté for about 3 minutes, tossing the onion often.
  3. Add the minced garlic and continue cooking for another minutes.
  4. Remove the sausage from its casings and break the sausage into the fry pan, tossing it and breaking it up with the onions and garlic. Cook until it is almost completely browned.
  5. Add the marinara sauce and stir everything together, lower the heat and simmer for ten minutes or so.
  6. Toss in the arugula leaves and toss to combine. Cover the pan and let the greens wilt – about two minutes should do this.
  7. Stir in the Mascarpone cheese until the sauce is creamy.
  8. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese. Taste and correct the sauce for saltiness and pepperiness.
  9. When the potatoes are baked, make a length-wise slit and pinch the ends to open the potato up.  Place a generous spoonful of the sausage and arugula sauce atop each potato and sprinkle on the flat-leaf parsley.
  10. Serve piping hot with vegetable and salad side dishes and good red wine. 

Head over to I Heart Cooking Club to see what others are bringing to the pot luck!


  1. I don't know--a big plate of that looks pretty to me, and pretty darn delicious! And surrounded by kale, it is health food! Great pick, ;-)

  2. I'm so excited to see that someone else has made these tasty potatoes. I made them awhile ago and we really loved them. It is a very tasty and comforting combination. I think the sauce will be wonderful on the pizza.

    P.S. Love that you set up the table! I almost never do that and need to make a better effort.

  3. Doesn't look like I'll get a dish made in time this week. Can I share some of yours?! That potato topping looks so good! I agree--no way she eats like that all the time.

  4. Looks delicious! I know that these would be gone in no time in my house, we are a bunch of potato lovers!
    I like the setting of your dining table, the flowers are so pretty!

  5. Haha yes I'm pretty sure she DOES only eat nano bites! These potatoes are loaded with deliciousness!

  6. Did you ever notice that she always has a smile on her face too! I don't know, beating eggs, etc., just doesn't make me smile - try it sometime!!! I did! LOL

  7. Giada cannot eat regular people size portions of the food she cooks and still look like she does. I think she chews the flavor out of each bite, then spits it out. Lol! Doesn't kale and potato taste delicious together. I always chop a couple of small red potatoes into my kale soup.

  8. I don't think she even takes nano-bites - I think she just inhales food!! Love the topping for these potatoes, Susan and I think putting the leftovers on pizza sounds like a great idea. And flashing up the table for baked potatoes - I like your style :-)

  9. Can't really beat a baked potato..for me the ultimate comfort food :) Love this dish :)


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