Funci Ripieni: Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed Mushrooms

I was in the supermarket last week and I noticed the Thanksgiving decorations for sale.  Is it really almost Thanksgiving?  Those darn holidays have a way of sneaking up on you before you know it.  It got me thinking about the traditional foods that we serve in celebrating this important occasion.  One of my mother’s holiday favorite is her stuffed mushrooms.

You don’t need a special occasion to savor these tasty morsels.  I like to serve them at dinner parties as an appetizer or as a side dish with grilled steak.  You can leave out the sausage for a vegetarian version.  Either way, your guests will love these delicious bites.

FUNCI RIPIENI:   STUFFED MUSHROOMS

Difficulty Rating: Easy
Makes 20.

INGREDIENTS:
20 large mushrooms (2 1/2-inches in diameter), stems removed
1/2 pound Italian sausage, casings removed
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 cup dry plain bread crumbs
1 small clove garlic, finely minced
1/3 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
3 Tablespoons fresh Italian parsley leaves, finely minced
2 Tablespoons pine nuts
2 Tablespoons dried currants
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil

1. MAKE THE FILLING:  Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.   Add sausage meat, breaking into pieces with the back of a fork.  Cook the sausage, stirring frequently, until browned, about 10 minutes.  Transfer to a small bowl using a slotted spoon and set aside.  Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add onions and sauté until soft and translucent.  Stir in bread crumbs and garlic, reduce heat to low, and stir continuously until the breadcrumbs are a lightly toasted, about 4 minutes.  Remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl, let cool about 15 minutes.  Stir in sausage, cheese, parsley, pine nuts, currants, and thyme into the breadcrumb mixture.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and mix well.

2.  BAKE THE STUFFED MUSHROOMS:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Lightly grease a baking sheet.  Fill the mushrooms generously with the sausage mixture, using the front of large spoon to mound the filling in.  Place mushrooms in a single layer on baking sheet.  Lightly drizzle mushrooms with remaining olive oil.  Bake approximately 20 minutes, until mushrooms are tender and browned on top.

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