26 September 2007

Portobello Mushrooms Stuffed with Sausage

(Funghi Portobello Farci con Salsiccia) You know you're a food nut when spotting giant Portobello mushrooms at your local grocery excites you so much that you don't care about the price tag (okay, maybe just large, but where I come from, they're quite impressive). So, four of these 4-inch (rounded up) babies cost PhP190 ($4.20 or £2.08). Not bad considering I've been aching to make stuffed mushrooms just as good as Italianni's or better (especially since those tiny things are so expensive). I've discovered that I'd sooner trust a food blog than about.com or something impersonal, especially since they might as well have copied those recipes out of an unreliable book. So I was lucky Deb at Smitten Kitchen once made stuffed mushrooms, so I didn't have to be afraid. BUT-- the recipe is something I threw together. Gotta have the meat in there. I'm a guy. (Recipe follows)
Portobello Mushrooms Stuffed with Sausage
I made too much stuffing. This is good for 6 large portobello mushrooms. Clean the mushrooms all around. Ideally you should use a special vegetable scrubbing brush, but some people also recommend a damp paper towel. I find that there's a lot of gook to these mushrooms, so I make do with what I have and gently use a Scotch-Brite. Don't overdo it as the mushrooms are kind of delicate. Remove the stalk gently and place them gill side down in an ovenproof glass dish, then bake in a preheated 400°F (200°C) oven for 15 minutes.

While they're baking, get to work on the stuffing. The idea was to use a meatball-type mix, but as we forgot to buy ground pork, I used what we had in the house-- Garlic Sausage (I would have preferred to use Italian Sausage like what they put on pizza, but I'm still searching for the proper name so I can ask for it at the deli). Get 3 of them and slice roughly (we had maybe 5-6 inch ones). Mince a clove of garlic. Chop the stalks of the mushrooms roughly.

I picked this one up from Deb: the tomatoes. You can add a tablespoon of tomato paste to the mix, or you can do what we did and soak 8 sun-dried tomatoes in hot water for 5 minutes (skip the soak if they're oil-packed), then take out and dice.

Here's the weird part. We don't have a food processor (friends! Now you know what I want. Just kidding). I used a blender, of all things. But it works, more or less, even if the shape of the pitcher is not ideal. Load the mushroom stalks, sausage, and garlic into your food processor, or batch by batch if using a blender. Pulse (at the Grind setting) until you can't recognize shapes any longer. Place the ground crap in a bowl and add (and this is all eyeballed, by the way) a quarter cup dry bread crumbs, a tablespoon of dried Italian Seasoning (er, Marjoram, Basil, Parsley, and Oregano, I think), a chopped-up quarter cup of flat-leaf (Italian) parsley (a small bunch), the diced tomatoes, a quarter cup grated mozarella cheese, a quarter cup grated Parmesan cheese, a healthy dose of fresh-ground black pepper, one small egg, and though I didn't use it, it could really use a bit of salt (by dad says it's not needed. Up to you). Take your clean hand and squish everything together.

Take out the mushroom caps out of the oven, invert them, and load the stuffing on top. Sprinkle the top with even more grated Parmesan cheese, drizzle with olive oil, and bake again at the TOP rack of your oven for 25 minutes, or until brown, crusty and cracklelicious. (That last adjective was to make it sound less of a skin disease.) Serve as soon as you can!

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