Portobello Mushrooms Stuffed With Italian Sausage

What can we do with portobello mushrooms other than straight grilling? They look so good even in a plastic-wrapped package that you want to figure out new uses for them. This recipe starts with a light, dry grilling to take some of the moisture out of the mushrooms so they’ll hold together better. The Italian sausage is then broken up with some classic savory vegetables for a Creole-Italian take on stuffed mushrooms. The filling is quite loose, but avoid the temptation to stick it back together with cheese or bread crumbs. These are good as an appetizer, or as an entree with pasta bordelaise. You can make the same recipe with smaller mushrooms for finger food.

  • 8 large portobello mushrooms
  • 3 links spicy Italian sausage, removed from casing
  • 1/2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 bulb fennel (anise), coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  • Dash soy sauce
  • 1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/3 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Romano cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

1. Brush the dirt off the mushrooms and place them cap side down on a medium-hot skillet or griddle for about a minute, until they flatten out slightly. Remove to an oven pan or cookie sheet.

2. Break the sausage into a skillet and cook with 1/4 cup water over medium heat. Keep stirring to keep the sausage from clumping up. Cook until all the water has been absorbed and no pink is left in the sausage. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon to a bowl lined with two thicknesses of paper towel.

3. Pour off the fat from the skillet and wipe it lightly with a paper towel. Heat the olive oil in the same pan over medium heat. When it shimmers, add the onion, bell pepper, and fennel or celery, and cook until just beginning to soften.

4. Add the wine, lemon juice, and soy sauce, and bring to a boil while stirring now and then. After a minute, add the sausage and the parsley back and cook until nearly dry.

5. Remove the pan contents to a bowl. Add the bread crumbs, Romano cheese and salt. Stir in with a kitchen fork to loosen up the mix.

6. Spoon the mixture very loosely onto the upturned mushrooms and run under the broiler until the mixture starts to sizzle and the bread crumbs are toasted–about two or three minutes.

Serves four entrees or eight appetizers (or 24 small stuffed mushrooms).

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