Mushrooms are versatile when planning a menu. They can be used in an appetizer, salad or main course. While traveling in Europe, I have had a delicious salad topped with warm wild mushrooms and roasted pears, had mushrooms cooked in a cream sauce and served over pork and mushrooms stuffed with meat and bread crumbs along with other roasted vegetables accompanying a main course.
My Portobello mushrooms are prepared with an Italian stuffing of fresh homemade bread crumbs and hot Italian sausage and served on a bed of spinach wilted in olive oil and garlic. This recipe is a play on a wilted spinach and mushroom salad but much better and filling enough that it can be a served as a main course.
Portobello Mushrooms, Italian Style
- 2 large Portobello mushrooms or 4 medium
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil for brushing, plus an extra 1 Tbsp. for sautéing, if needed
- 6 oz. Italian sausage, hot or regular, removed from their casing
- 1/2 c. chopped onion
- 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 c. fresh bread crumbs, lightly toasted
- 2 Tbsp. chopped flat leaf parsley
- 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
- 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
- 1/4 c. grated pecorino romano cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 egg, beaten
Preheat the over 350 degrees.
Clean the mushrooms with a damp paper towel and remove the gills with a spoon. Brush with olive oil and place on a foil lined baking sheet and bake for five minutes. Remove for the oven and let cool while preparing the stuffing.
Brown the sausage in a skillet, breaking into small pieces until just cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon to a large bowl. Add the onion to skillet, adding the additional 1 Tbsp. of olive oil if needed. Cook until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Add the sautéed onions and garlic to the sausage and mix. Add add the remaining ingredients except the egg. Taste for seasonings and adjust if necessary. When the taste is correct add the egg a little at a time until moist (you may not need all the egg) but not wet. Stuff the mushrooms and bake for 10 to 15 minutes until you have a nice golden crust.
Wilted Garlic Spinach
Take 2 or 3 Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil and heat. Add 1 or 2 cloves of sliced or minced garlic and simmer until the garlic has become soft but not brown. When the oil has become flavorful, add one bag (8 – 9 oz.) of baby spinach and toss. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss in the garlic oil until just wilted. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and toss again. The spinach should just be wilted for the best flavor.
This recipe is very easy and flavorful. It is versatile in that you can use smaller white or cremini mushrooms for an appetizer. It is easily doubled for entertaining. You can also make it vegetarian by eliminating the sausage and adding a little extra oil and vegetable broth to keep it moist. As a finishing touch, you can drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over the mushrooms and a sprinkle of cheese, or serve with marinara sauce on the side.