Some of you may know I formerly chef’ed for a living. My specialty was pastries, but, ironically, I never make dessert now. The sweet smell of chocolate ganache sometimes haunts my dreams. Cooking for a living, IMHO, is not as glamorous as Food Network makes it out to be. I begrudgingly exited because my body literally ached after nine years of commercial kitchen abuse. And I retreated to the best of both worlds: food and wine writing.
I still concoct and love dabbling in food. Partly due to the sucky economy and partly because of passion, my husband and I cook probably five nights a week. This recipe is his… born out of a love for mushrooms so strong, he salivates when thinking of them. We drink an inexpensive, effervescent sparkling wine with these spicy, umami-laden fungi (the spice unfortunately overwhelms a red). Hopefully, you’ll enjoy it as much as us. (Bubbly recommendations)
1 t. olive oil
1 lb. spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
1/2 large green pepper, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1/2 medium-sized onion, chopped
1 teaspoon minced, fresh (or jarred) garlic
4 large portobello mushrooms, washed with stems removed and chopped
1 t. salt, divided
Fresh black pepper
1 Tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried parsley (substitute other herbs — fresh cilantro or basil are good too)
1/4 c. seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
1/3 c. grated parmesan cheese (fresh if you have it)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a large saute pan over medium-heat, heat olive oil. Add sausage, green pepper, onions, celery, garlic, mushroom stems, 1/2 t. salt and a couple grinds of the pepper mill. Saute until vegetables are soft (sausage won’t necessarily be cooked through… it has the oven to go).
3. Place sausage mixture — minus any liquid that might have appeared during cooking — in a food processor (or a strong immersion blender might work). Add egg, parsley and breadcrumbs. Process until evenly mixed. It will be fairly mushy, like raw meatloaf.
4. Divide the stuffing amongst the mushroom caps, mounding if necessary. Place on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Cook 20 minutes, remove from the oven and evenly sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top of each mushroom. Cook 5 more minutes or until cheese melts.