Italian Stuffed Mushrooms

No one makes better stuffed mushrooms but there's a trick or two to it.  

When making stuffed mushrooms for your next party, 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 all different sizes on a platter. The cooking time varies as well when they aren't the same size, small mushrooms are overcooked while big ones are still raw. That's not the trick though. 

The trick is to sauté the mushroom caps before filling them - this creates a meaty rich concentrated flavor as well as a great look when the caps are beautifully browned. After that, it takes just a few minutes to heat them after they are filled. Perfection!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 large 'stuffing' mushroom caps, stems removed, chopped, and reserved
  • 8 ounces Jimmy Dean Italian sausage
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seed - crushed or smashed with side of knife
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons Progresso Italian breadcrumbs (optional)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

Instructions

  • In a large nonstick skillet heat 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  • Sauté mushroom caps smooth side down, over medium-high heat, 3 to 4 minutes, until tops are lightly browned and beginning to soften.
  • Carefully turn and brown edges of the cup side, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the cooked mushrooms to a paper towel to drain, cup side down.
  • Brown sausage in the same skillet, mashing with a fork while sautéing so that mixture is fine-textured. 
  • Add chopped mushroom stems, garlic, onion, red pepper and fennel seed; continue cooking over medium-high heat 8 to 10 minutes, until vegetables are softened and juices have evaporated.
  • Remove from heat and when the mixture has cooled slightly, toss with parsley, 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. Loosely pile with sausage stuffing mixture. Dish may be prepared in advance, covered and chilled until ready to bake.
  • When ready to serve, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, uncovered, to heat mushrooms and crisp edges of stuffing.