Italian Sausage and Herb Stuffed Mushrooms
You know tiny food makes me giddy, and I’m borderline ecstatic about these supremely savory Italian Sausage and Herb Stuffed Mushrooms, which I’m hoping you’ll take for a spin as soon as humanly possible.
Fact: Stuffed mushrooms are a wildly underrated finger food. Many people I’ve spoken to—because I am indeed the type to work appetizer research into casual conversation—appear ambivalent or even averse to the stuffed mushroom concept.
While I love the somewhat retro bites (I’m a sucker for both comfort and nostalgia), I get the lack of stuffed mushroom fanfare. Many are, in fact, very…meh. They’re often under/overcooked, air on the side of soggy, and hold cheesy yet forgettable fillings that could be blanketly described as “wet bread crumbs.”
However, great stuffed mushrooms are truly magical. And this, friends, is a recipe for great stuffed mushrooms. (Logan’s review was 90% happy expletives, which is his highest form of praise.)
Baking at a higher heat prevents sad mushroom sogginess, and the savory sausage filling comes to life thanks to my beloved Rao’s Homemade Roasted Garlic Sauce, a responsible amount of Parmesan or Pecorino Romano, and plenty of fresh herbs. Topped with golden, garlicky Panko, each beautiful bite is a top tier finger food experience. (Bless the amount of alliteration happening in this post.)
You know I live for a versatile and flexible recipe, and the serving options and you do you possibilities for this one are about to blow your mind. Are you ready?
First, let’s talk about the mushrooms themselves. I went with white, but feel free to use cremini (aka baby bella). You could also take the stuffed mushroom concept in an entrée direction and stuff four large portobello mushroom caps. Serve them with a side salad (and maybe a full-bodied red wine?), and you’ve got quite an impressive dinner on your hands.
There’s a responsible amount of Parmesan (or Pecorino if you prefer a little more kick/flavor intensity) incorporated into the filling and sprinkled on top of the mushrooms, which I highly recommend for keeping things on the lighter and fresher side. But if you prefer a creamier filling, you could go with mascarpone, ricotta, or even cream cheese. And if melty cheese is more your jam, try an Italian cheese blend or shredded mozzarella fontina in the stuffing and/or sprinkled on top of the mushrooms before adding the bread crumbs. Oh, and for the record, this recipe is also absolutely delicious sans cheese!
When it comes to the tomato sauce, I’m deeply obsessed with the slightly sweet, garlic-infused flavor of Rao’s Homemade Roasted Garlic Sauce in this recipe, BUT it would be equally fabulous with their Tomato Basil Sauce, Marinara, Arrabbiata, or Vodka Sauce. I’ve been loyally cooking with Rao’s Homemade sauces for YEARS, and I cannot recommend them wholeheartedly enough. Their use of hand-selected ingredients, including whole leaf basil, sweet Italian tomatoes, gives their sauces a taste and texture that’s deliciously unparalleled—I dare you not to fall in love with them.
As written, the recipe makes about 16 stuffed mushrooms, which is perfect for a small gathering, but it’s easily doubled or tripled to feed a larger crowd. And since you can assemble the mushrooms up to a day in advance (although I urge you to wait to add the garlicky breadcrumbs until just before they go into the oven for maximum crunch factor), they’re very much a stress-free entertaining option! (They even happen to taste excellent at room temp, so there’s no need to fuss about serving them piping hot.)
If you’re lucky enough to have leftovers, get excited! I’m a fan of chopping up the stuffed mushrooms and using them in a frittata or omelet, or adding extra tomato sauce to create a “stuffed mushroom ragu” that’s delightful over pasta, zucchini noodles, or polenta. I also recommend slicing the leftover mushrooms and layering them with some fontina or mozzarella and a little spinach or roasted broccoli in a panino or on pizza/flatbread. Feeling particularly decadent? STUFFED MUSHROOM SUB. Stuff whole mushrooms into a hoagie roll, top with extra Rao’s Homemade sauce of your choice, sprinkle with mozzarella and broil until the cheese is melted and boiling. I’m just gonna leave you with that visual…
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons Panko bread crumbs, divided (Regular bread crumbs will also work.)
- 1 pound white mushrooms (about 16 mushrooms)
- ½ pound uncooked sweet or hot Italian chicken or turkey sausage, casings removed
- ¾ cup Rao's Homemade®Roasted Garlic Sauce (Marinara, Tomato Basil Sauce, or Arrabbiata are also fabulous.)
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese, divided
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, plus extra for serving
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil leaves, plus extra for serving
First, make the bread crumb topping. Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the minced garlic and cook for about 2 minutes until the garlic is golden. (Be very careful not to burn it!) Stir in 3 tablespoons of the bread crumbs and a small pinch of salt and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until lightly golden—no need to brown the crumbs fully as they’ll brown significantly in the oven. Transfer to a small bowl or plate to cool.
Prep the mushrooms! Clean the mushrooms by wiping them gently with a damp towel. Mushrooms absorb water like a sponge, so I don’t recommend rinsing them under the faucet. Remove the stems from each mushroom cap and set aside. (The stems are going to be used for the filling.) Using a teaspoon, gently remove and discard the dark brown gills on the underside of each mushroom cap. (No need to be a perfectionist here.) Place the prepared mushroom caps cavity side up on a baking sheet or in a large braiser/skillet/casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray, leaving a little bit of space between each one. Finely chop the mushroom stems (I like to pulse them a few times in my food processor until finely chopped) and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400° F.
Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the sausage and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring and breaking up the meat into very small pieces, until lightly browned. Add the chopped mushroom stems and cook for about 3 minutes until the mushrooms are very soft. Reduce the heat to medium-low and slowly pour in the Rao’s Homemade® Roasted Garlic Sauce. Cook for 2 to 3minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly (you want the filling to be very thick). Turn off the heat and stir in ¼ cup of the cheese, ¼ cup bread crumbs, and the chopped parsley and basil.
Toss the remaining 2 tablespoons cheese with the cooled garlicky bread crumbs.
Generously spoon the filling into each mushroom cap and sprinkle the tops with the bread crumb mixture.
Bake the stuffed mushrooms for 25 minutes or until the mushrooms are soft and the tops are lightly browned. (You’ll notice a small ring of liquid around each mushroom, that’s fine!)
Let the mushrooms cool in the pan for at least 5 minutes—they’ll firm up as they cool, which is important. Serve garnished with extra chopped parsley and basil.
This post is sponsored by my longtime friends at Rao’s Homemade. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Domesticate Me alive and kicking.
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