One of my family’s favorite appetizer to order in a restaurant is stuffed mushrooms. We truly love them, but we never order them as our own individual appetizer. I guess we don’t view them as “appetizer-worthy.” So, we always order them for the “table.” That means we ask for a few orders for everyone at the table to share in addition to our chosen appetizers. I’ll never forget the one time I forgot the unspoken, stuffed-mushroom rule, and I choose them for my own appetizer. Necks snapped as my family turned towards me, and with shocked eyes, they admonished me: “Rookie mistake.
Don’t tell my family, but I do believe stuffed mushrooms are appetizer-worthy. I love to pop them into my mouth like Tic Tacs. (Ahhh, no wonder I never
get invited back to cocktail parties.) The mushroom, with its subtle flavor, is the perfect, edible container for any stuffing. My favorite stuffed-mushroom recipe incorporates ricotta cheese to smooth out the mixture and create a softer texture. This smoother mixture opens the door for one of my favorite culinary analogies, “It’s like butta!”
I hope you enjoy my family’s stuffed-mushroom recipe. I have a pretty good feeling you will consider them “worthy” for any occasion.
2 lbs. button mushrooms,
rinsed, stems removed
1 cup plain bread crumbs
½ cup whole milk ricotta
4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1/3 cup parsley, chopped fine
1/3 cup pecorino Romano
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
2 oz. olive oil
2 oz. mushroom broth
For THE Broth
Stems of the mushrooms
2 cups water
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. olive oil
•1 Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
•2 Broth: Brown garlic in oil, stir in stems and sauté for a minute. Add water and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce heat low 10 minutes. Strain; reserve liquid and discard solids.
•3 Stuffing: In large bowl, gently mix bread crumbs, ricotta, garlic, parsley, Romano, pepper, salt, oil, and mushroom broth. Lightly stuff mushroom caps with a teaspoon of stuffing and place in baking sheet with sides. Pour remaining broth over mushrooms. Cook for 20 minutes. Place under broiler until golden. Arrange on platter, pouring pan liquid over mushrooms.
Larry’s tip: This mixture can be used to stuff squash, tomatoes and eggplant.
Chef’s Bonus: Mop up all the pan juices with crusty Italian bread.