Is there anything better than a stuffed mushroom? I don't trust people who don't love mushrooms. Shifty characters I say. Okay not really, but these are great. They are right up there with group favorites like Classic Deviled Eggs (with relish) and 7 Layer Bean Dip. These are perfect for company or an accompaniment to a simple pasta dinner. Yum.
I used Ina Gartin's mushroom recipe as a guideline since I tend to make my mushrooms a little different each time, but this dish really evolved over time. When I first started making stuffed-mushrooms, I simply filled them with spicy sausage and topped with cheddar cheese. Since then, my mushrooms have evolved right along side my cooking...prowess (that sounds silly doesn't it?). As always, use whatever it is you like. When I have some sherry or Marsala on hand I love to add a splash to the mushrooms and sausage (wine and mushrooms were made for one another), but it definitely isn't necessary. And I know it seems kind of weird, but there is something about letting the mushrooms slightly cool before adding the cheese that makes them better. I don't know if it's because it gives the juices times to redistribute or if it's just my imagination, but it makes a difference.
Would I make this again? Family favorite.
16-20 extra-large white mushrooms
1/2 pound spicy Italian sausage, removed from the casings
3 scallions, white and green parts, minced
2 garlic cloves minced
1/3 cup panko crumbs
2-4 ounces cream cheese, room temp.
1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
Salt and pepper
Splash of Marsala wine or medium sherry (optional)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Remove the stems from the mushrooms and chop them finely. Set aside.
1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage, crumbling it with the back of a wooden spoon. Cook the sausage for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until it's completely browned. While the sausage is cooking, remove the stems from the mushrooms and chop them finely. Add the chopped mushroom stems and cook for 3 more minutes. Add a splash of wine and cook until evaporated.
2. Stir in the scallions and garlic and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the panko crumbs, stirring to combine evenly with all the other ingredients. Finally, add the cream cheese and continue cooking until the mascarpone has melted and made the sausage mixture creamy. Off the heat, stir in the cheeses, parsley, and season with salt and pepper, to taste, Cool slightly.
3. Fill each mushroom generously with the sausage mixture. Arrange the mushrooms in a baking dish large enough to hold all the mushrooms in a single layer. Bake until the stuffing for 30 minutes.
4. After 30 minutes, pull the mushrooms out of the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes. Sprinkle some cheddar cheese on top of the mushrooms and put them back into the oven until the cheese is melted, 5-8 minutes.