Photo by Michael Phillips
4–5 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
½ to 1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 pound smoked sausage or kielbasa
2 teaspoons olive oil
½ red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
2–3 green onions, chopped, with white bottoms separated from green tops
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1½ cups milk
½ cup Gruyere cheese, diced (or any melting cheese)
½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper
Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large saucepan over medium heat, place potatoes, ½ to 1 teaspoon salt and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook 10 minutes, or until fork tender but not falling apart. Drain. Grease a medium-sized casserole dish with 1 tablespoon butter, and add cooked potatoes.
Cut sausage in half lengthwise and then into ½-inch pieces. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Cook sausage until brown, about 10–12 minutes; drain and add to potatoes. In the same pan, add bell pepper and the white part of onions, and saute 3–5 minutes. Add to potatoes. Toss potatoes, sausage and vegetables to combine.
In a large sauce pan over medium heat, melt remaining butter, and whisk in flour. Cook 2–3 minutes while whisking. Slowly whisk in milk, and continue whisking until the mixture thickens. Add Gruyere, and whisk until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper, and mix well.
Pour sauce over potato-sausage mixture, and sprinkle with cheddar cheese and crushed red pepper. Bake 30–35 minutes, until golden on top. Remove from oven, and garnish with green tops of onions.
Salt and potatoes – When cooking potatoes, use a little more salt than is called for in the recipe. Potatoes absorb salt at a higher rate, which is why they sometimes taste bland. Likewise, if you are cooking a dish that seems a little too salty for your taste, add a few potatoes to it for the duration of the cooking process. The potatoes will absorb the excess salt.