Nov 15, 2010

Stuffed Mushrooms

When planning a holiday menu, it’s important to remember the little things, like what type of nibbles to serve before dinner.  These stuffed mushrooms are sure to satisfy everyone – we have something for the carnivores and veggies alike. The great thing about these mushrooms is that they are just as delicious meatless or with meat and you can make both versions quite easily.  We adapted the recipes from Giada De Laurentiis and  Ina Garten, but of course added our own twist to these flavorful, bite-size delights.

Caitlin: I made the sausage stuffed mushrooms from Ina Garten’s recipe (here); I stuck to the original recipe without making any changes and I’m glad I did. They were delicious and fairly easy to make. The marscapone and parmesan cheeses are a creamy addition to the mushroom caps and sausage filling. I used a mild Italian sausage, but I think a spicy version would be even better.
Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

Monica:  I decided to make the meatless version of these mushrooms.  I altered the recipe by using regular bread crumbs and adding some extra herbs to the mix. I also decided to add a bit of artichokes to each mushroom in order to give them a bit of tang – which I think the original recipe needed.  I used crimini stuffing mushrooms and their caps were perfect for the filling.  I also think the next time I make these, I would add a bit of crumbled feta as well.  The great thing about this recipe is that it allows you to experiment with different fillings.

Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms

Ingredient List (for the vegetarian version)
½ cup Italian-style or regular bread crumbs
½ cup grated Pecorino Romano
1 –2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tbsp fresh mint leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
22 – 28 large white or crimini mushrooms, stemmed
**if using regular bread crumbs, you can add 2 tbs of dried oregano to the mixture
***if making the veggie version – you can also add 3 tbs chopped artichokes (I used canned artichoke hearts) to the cheese mixture before filling

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Stir the bread crumbs, Pecorino Romano, garlic, chopped artichokes (if using), parsley, oregano, mint, salt and pepper, to taste, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium bowl to blend. 

Drizzle a heavy large baking sheet with about 1 tablespoon olive oil to coat. Spoon the filling into the mushroom cavities and arrange on the baking sheet, cavity side up. Drizzle remaining oil over the filling in each mushroom. Bake until the mushrooms are tender and the filling is heated through and golden on top, about 25 minutes. 

Ingredient List (for the sausage version)
16 extra-large white mushrooms
5 tablespoons good olive oil, divided
2 ½ tablespoons Marsala wine or sherry
¾ pound Italian sausage, removed from the casings
6 scallions, white and green parts, minced
2 garlic cloves minced
2/3 cup bread crumbs
5 ounces mascarpone cheese
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 325F.

Remove the stems from the mushrooms and finely chop. Set aside. Place the mushroom caps in a shallow bowl and toss with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and Marsala. Set aside.

Heat the remaining 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. Add the chopped mushroom stems and cook for 3 more minutes. Stir in the scallions and garlic and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the bread crumbs, stirring to combine evenly with all the other ingredients. Finally, swirl in the mascarpone and continue cooking until the mascarpone has melted and made the sausage mixture creamy. Off the heat, stir in the Parmesan, parsley, and season with salt and pepper, to taste, Cool slightly.

Fill each mushroom generously with the sausage mixture. Arrange the mushrooms in a baking dish large enough to hold all the mushrooms in a snug single layer. Bake until the stuffing for 50 minutes, until the stuffing is browned and crusty.

As well as adding artichokes to the vegetarian mushrooms, olives would also be a great addition.

Crumbled feta added to the filling would also make the flavors of the mushroom pop.

Crabmeat would be an interesting flavor and texture to add.

Caitlin: Stan Getz’ Bossa Nova album – great dinner party music.
Monica: These would not only be great before a big holiday spread, but, they would also work quite well for a cocktail party.  With that in mind, here’s some cocktail inspired music:
1)   “No Hay Problema” Pink Martini
2)   “Tanto Tempo” Bebel Gilberto
3)   “By Your Side” Sade
4)   “Besame Mucho” The Beatles
5)   “I Only Have Eyes for You” Frank Sinatra

Drink of Choice
Caitlin: Champagne!
Monica: Since these would most likely be served before dinner or as an appetizer at a cocktail party, I think a Kir Royal is the perfect compliment to these nibbles.

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