This versatile appetizer recipe is sure to be a big hit at your next party or casual gathering. When selecting mushrooms for this recipe, choose ones with small to medium-sized caps for best results. Using a mixture of baby Portobello and white mushrooms makes for an attractive presentation. However, it should be noted that the moredelicately flavored white mushrooms do not compete with the filling the way the more distinctive tasting Portobello caps do.
2 T. olive oil
½ c. Marsala (or dry white) wine, divided
8 oz. package of baby Portobello mushrooms, cleaned
8 oz. package of white mushrooms, cleaned
12 oz. bulk spicy Italian sausage
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
4 fresh sage leaves, washed and julienned
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 T. Panko bread crumbs (optional)
3 T. Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
6 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
Position rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Remove stems from cleaned mushrooms by grabbing them as close to the cap as possible and gently twisting. Roughly chop removed stems and reserve in a separate bowl, while placing intact caps in a larger non-reactive bowl.
Add olive oil and 3 tablespoons wine to bowl containing mushroom caps and toss gently to evenly coat. Set aside.
In a large skillet, cook sausage over medium-high heat until thoroughly browned. Break apart all chunks with a spatula or wooden spoon as it cooks. Once browned, drain excess fat before proceeding.
Add chopped mushroom stems and garlic to the pan and cook until mushrooms are soft and start to release liquid. Add fresh sage and remaining wine and scrap up any brown bits of sausage from the bottom of the pan. Simmer for a couple minutes until excess liquid evaporates.
Remove from heat and add softened cream cheese and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Stir until thoroughly combined and cheese is completely melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cool slightly.
Add one rounded spoonful of sausage mixture to each marinated mushroom cap and arrange stuffing side up in a 13 x 9” glass baking dish. If desired, sprinkle each stuffed mushroom cap with Panko breadcrumbs, freshly grated Parmesan cheese or a combination of both before baking.
Place glass dish in pre-heated oven on center rack and bake for 30 minutes or until mushrooms are soft and filling is browned on top. For a crispier topping, place baking dish under the broiler for a couple minutes when done cooking. If desired, garnish with chopped fresh parsley before serving.