Mushrooms make a natural receptacle for a variety of fillings. This recipe uses standard cultivated mushrooms, but Italy is blessed with an abundant variety of wild mushrooms. In Italy, there seem to be as many variations on this dish as there are people. Here are 2 filling variations: (1) Pesto and (2) Mushroom
- large mushroom caps, very white and fresh
- Salt and olive oil
- 3 C. packed fresh basil leaves
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/4 C. pignoli
- 3/4 C. Olive Oil
- 1 1/2 Tsp. salt
- 3/4 C. Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
- reserved minced mushroom stems
- 1 small onion, finely minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- Olive Oil
- Salt and pepper and a pinch crushed red hot pepper
- Italian sausage sweet/ hot or a combination of both
- Mascarpone cheese
- Pecorino Romano cheese
- dry, unflavored bread crumbs
To Prepare the Pesto Filling: Wash and dry the basil leaves. Put all the ingredients except the cheese into the blender and process until smooth. Pour the sauce into a bowl, add the Parmigiano and blend well, adjust the seasoning.
To Prepare the Sausage Filling: Heat the OO in a skillet, add the onion and garlic and sauté over med heat until soft and translucent. Add the mushroom stems, salt, cover and sweat until most of the mushroom moisture has been released. Remove the sausage from the casing, break it up into very small bits and add to the mushrooms. Cook uncovered until the sausage has cooked and the moisture has evaporated. Remove from the heat and cool. Stir in Pecorino Romano cheese and enough mascarpone cheese to moisten the mixture. Season to taste with S & P. Fill the mushrooms with the mixture and sprinkle with breadcrumbs and a drizzle of cognac.
Prepare the mushrooms: Wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp paper towel. Gently detach the stems with out breaking the cap. Mince the stems and reserve.
Preheat the broiler:
Lightly salt the insides of the mushroom caps and brush their tops with OO. Place the mushrooms on a baking tray, stem side down, and broil for about 2 minutes. Turn the mushroom over and empty the cap of the mushroom liquids. Add S & P to the cap and fill the cavities with a small spoonful of pesto or sausage stuffing. Broil the caps for another minute or two, until the stuffing is browned and sizzling.