Looking for a crowd-pleasing appetizer that can also score as a quick weeknight dinner? The extra filling for these addictive stuffed mushrooms can be frozen and later turned into dinner in the 10 minutes it takes to cook a pound of pasta. I’m a big fan of epicurean efficiency. (And also of all teams from Seattle – Go Seahawks!)
Sausage and Sun-dried Tomato-stuffed Mushrooms
Makes about 20 appetizers, plus extra filling for pasta another night
- 1 lb large button mushrooms (1 large package, or approx. 20 mushrooms)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large shallots, chopped (approx. 1 cup)
- 1 lb sweet or Italian lean pork or turkey sausage (bulk, or links with casing removed)
- 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 2 teaspoons chopped fresh)
- 10 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 4 oz. (1/2 package) Neufchatel/reduced fat cream cheese
- 3 oz. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (approx. ¾ cup)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat oven to 400F.
Clean the mushrooms and remove and chop stems (along with any caps that break while you’re trying to pull off the stems). Note that most chefs will instruct you to wipe off the mushrooms to clean them – never soak them in water (lest they become waterlogged). I must confess that I usually rinse mushrooms quickly in a colander and then dry them on a paper towel.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (Optional, but keeps mushrooms from sticking and aids in clean-up.) Brush or toss the mushroom caps with a little oil from the jar of sundried tomatoes. Arrange top-side up on the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes while you make the filling.
Heat a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add olive oil and shallots and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the sausage and cook until no longer pink, using a wooden spoon to break up the clumps.
Add the mushroom caps and cook until softened and starting to brown, about 3-5 minutes more. Add the thyme and garlic and cook one more minute. Stir in white wine to deglaze the pot. Add sun-dried tomatoes, Neufchatel cheese, a few grinds of black pepper.
Then stir in ½ cup of the Parmigiano.
Taste for seasoning, adding a little kosher salt if necessary. (Some brands of sausage are saltier than others.)
Remove mushroom caps from oven and flip them top-side down. Sprinkle each mushroom cap with a little bit of kosher salt.
Mound each mushroom with sausage stuffing and sprinkle with remaining Parmigiano cheese.
Mushrooms can be stuffed or even baked a day ahead and reheated before serving.
Label and freeze any unused stuffing for a future pasta dinner.
Pasta with Sausage, Mushrooms and Sun-dried Tomatoes
- 1 lb dried shaped pasta, such as campanelle or orecchiette
- kosher salt
- Leftover sausage/mushroom mixture, thawed
- 1 (14-18 oz) can whole, chopped or crushed tomatoes
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 cup pasta cooking water
- ½ cup (or more) Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Chopped Italian parsley for garnish (optional)
Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions.
In a separate large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add tomatoes, sausage mixture and cream and bring to a simmer. Just before pasta is done cooking, ladle out about 1 cup of cooking water and stir into sausage mixture.
Drain pasta and add to sausage mixture. Stir for another minute or two to allow the pasta to absorb some of the flavors.
Finally, stir in 1/2 cup Parmigiano cheese. Serve with additional Parmigiano and chopped parsley, if desired.
(Note: even THESE leftovers can be reheated for lunch the next day.)