The secret to the best stuffed mushrooms is to saute the caps before filling them - creating a rich concentrated flavor as well as a great look when the caps are beautiful browned. Then it takes just a few minutes to heat them after they are filled. Perfection! When making stuffed mushrooms, splurge on a tray of the larger 'stuffing' caps so your pieces are all the same size. It ruins the look of the dish when there are large differences between mushroom sizes on a platter. If you do not have a good Italian market nearby that carries a very meaty Italian sausage, use the supermarket Jimmy Dean brand as it is very lean and has a nice fennel flavor.
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- 12 large 'stuffing' mushroom caps, stems removed, chopped, and reserved
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 ounces Jimmy Dean Italian sausage - about ⅔ of a package
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 small onion, finely chopped - or two shallots
- ¼ cup chopped red pepper
- ¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
- ¼ cup Progresso Italian flavored panko bread crumbs
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
- In a large nonstick skillet heat 1 tablespoon olive oil.
- Saute mushroom caps smooth side down, over medium high heat, 3 to 4 minutes, until tops are lightly browned and liquid starts to accumulate in cap.
- Carefully turn and brown edges of cup side, 1 to 2 minutes - liquids will evaporate. Place cooked mushrooms cup side down on paper towels to drain.
- Brown sausage in same skillet, mashing with a fork while cooking so that the mixture has a fine texture. Pour off any accumulated fat.
- Add chopped mushroom stems, garlic, onion, and red pepper; continue cooking over medium high heat until vegetables are softened and juices have evaporated, about 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat, and when mixture has cooled enough to handle, toss with parsley, bread crumb and cheese until well combined; season with salt and pepper.
- Arrange caps cup side up in a large baking dish and lightly season with salt and pepper. Pack with sausage mixture. Dish may be prepared in advance, covered and chilled until ready to bake.
- When ready to serve, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover dish with foil and bake 10 to 12 minutes, to heat mushrooms through.