Photo: Alison Miksch; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Margaret Monroe Dickey
Have you ever been confused at the grocery store by the numerous varieties of potatoes? Which potato is best for your particular use? Starchy potatoes, such as russets and many sweet potatoes, are very absorbent and are great for baking and frying. Pretty red-skinned and fingerling potatoes, which are a bit waxier, are ideal for soups and salads. They hold their shape well during cooking. Yukon gold, blue, and purple potatoes, are all-purpose potatoes. They are good for roasting, mashing, and baking. This recipe uses the microwave to bake the potato—a very quick method that will allow you to prepare baked potatoes for a weeknight dinner. But if you want to bake a potato in the oven, simply pierce the potato with a fork and rub it down with oil. Set the potato on a wire rack set over a baking sheet, which keeps the potato elevated and allows air to circulate all around for even cooking.
1 (8-oz.) russet potato
1/4 teaspoon olive oil
1 1/2 ounces ground hot Italian sausage
1/4 cup finely chopped bell pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 teaspoon no-salt-added tomato paste
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/3 cup no-salt-added pureed tomatoes
3 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons warm whole milk
2 teaspoons melted butter
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 ounce shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
fresh oregano, for topping
How to Make It
Scrub 1 (8-oz.) russet potato; pierce potato all over with a fork. Place in a medium-size microwavable bowl, and rub potato with 1/4 tsp. olive oil. Microwave on HIGH until mostly tender, about 5 minutes. Flip potato, and microwave on HIGH until fully tender, about 2 to 3 more minutes. Let stand 5 minutes.
Preheat broiler with oven rack 6 inches from heat. Cook 1 1/2 oz. ground hot Italian sausage in a skillet over medium until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; reserve drippings in skillet. Add bell pepper and yellow onion to skillet; cook until softened, 5 minutes. Add no-salt- added tomato paste and minced garlic; cook 30 seconds. Add no-salt-added pureed tomatoes, water, fresh oregano, and sausage. Bring to a simmer; cook until slightly thickened, 3 minutes.
Cut 1 potato in half; scoop out pulp into a bowl, leaving 1/4-inch-thick shells. Mash pulp with 1 1/2 Tbsp. warm whole milk, 2 tsp. melted butter, and 1/4 tsp. kosher salt. Fold in half of tomato mixture. Spoon into shells; place on a baking sheet. Top with remaining tomato mixture and 1 oz. shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese. Broil 1 to 2 minutes. Top with fresh oregano.