STUFFED MUSHROOMS PIZZAIOLA, HOLIDAY STAPLE
By Peter Francis Battaglia, author of A Food Obsession
This is a traditional family recipe from my late Mom and it only showed up on the Thanksgiving and Christmas table. She made stuffed mushrooms of all kinds but THIS ItalianSausage stuffed Mushrooms baked in Tomatoes graced every holiday table. In fact, when I eat them or cook them I immediately crave the Turkey and stuffing that always followed it. Pure Italian American Thanksgiving food…enjoy making them for your holidays. A wonderful way to use canned tomatoes. I’m a home cook now who does occasional cooking classes and pop ups and once owned a catering company. Love to cook and teach and develop recipes which I share on my food blog, A FOOD OBSESSION and on my Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin and Facebook pages.
STUFFED MUSHROOMS PIZZAIOLA
MAKES 50 MUSHROOMS
50 MUSHROOMS, STEMS GENTLY SEPARATED (finely dice the stems)
1 1/2 lbs. loose mix of hot and sweet ITALIAN PORK FENNEL SAUSAGE meat
(or just one type)
3 sliced cloves of garlic
1 large whole clove of GARLIC
1 tsp. diced PANCETTA
1/4 cup RED WINE
1/8 cup GRATED PECORINO ROMANO CHEESE
1/4 cup DICED LOW MOISTURE MOZZARELLA(not fresh made)
1/8 cup PLAIN ITALIAN BREADCRUMBS
1 ITALIAN ROLL, day old preferably..soaked in water, then squeeze out the water
2 TBS. FINELY CHOPPED FRESH ITALIAN FLAT LEAF PARSLEY
1 CAN (28 OZ) PLUM TOMATOES
1/2 TSP FENNEL SEED, SLIGHTLY BRUISED
Start by making the PIZZAIOLA SAUCE. Simple. Crush the tomatoes with your hand or run thru the processor or a food mill. I’m lazy. I use my hands. Less clutter and things to wash, but feel free to use whatever you are comfortable with. Empty it into a mixing bowl. Add 1 TBS. Olive Oil, I like the taste of Olive Oil, alot..so I like a good Extra Virgin in here. Feel free to use what you like. Add 1/2 tsp of Oregano that you RUBBED BETWEEN YOUR HANDS..key technique, you release the oils in the dried oregano..do not use fresh for this. Salt and Pepper to taste..Smash one whole clove of garlic. Add that..Now blend the ingredients and set it aside.
How beautiful is that!!??
Now the stuffing…it’s a Red Wine Braised Italian Sausage stuffing with some additions.let’s have fun with this. In a large heavy pan for caramelization! add a little olive oil. Keep on medium heat and add the pancetta. When that is somewhat clear and has a little color on it add the sausage. Let it cook on one side for at least 8 minutes or until it’s browned, then chop it with a spatula and turn the sausage meat so it now will evenly brown. Let this cook for 5 minutes. Now add the sliced garlic. Resist the urge to season at this point because sausage meat is well seasoned and soon we will be adding cheese to this..more salt. You can always add salt, you can’t ever remove it, so trust me here. Now add the chopped stems and blend in well. After about 2 minutes add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes then add the wine. What an aroma you are now getting!! Let this simmer for at least 10 minutes. If the wine evaporates before that just add a touch more. This process infuses that tasty sausage with the wine flavor. It’s delicious! OK, take a piece out for yourself…are you smiling??? After 10 minutes, remove from the heat and let this cool down for at least 20 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, add the remaining oregano, the breadcrumbs,the bread, all the cheeses, the parsley, and mix together. Now add the sausage mushroom mix and 2 tbs of that Pizzaoila sauce you made…blend well. It’s ready when it looks like this: Then gently stuff each mushroom cap with the stuffing, just to the top, if there’s left over just add a little more to some. Place them into a baking/roasting pan that you’ve drizzled with some olive oil. Next step…pre heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Drizzle the Pizzaiola sauce around and over the mushrooms, another drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkling of some grated Pecorino Romano. You really have to be getting excited now. Please say you are!! Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. At the 10 minute mark, rotate the pan. Why? I believe most ovens have hot spots so this just helps with an even cooking of the pan. They are done when the mushrooms are soft. Let them sit for about 5 minutes before serving and these reheat REAL well. Here’s the finished product:
By Peter Francis Battaglia, author of A Food Obsession Born in 1958 to Italian-American parents in Staten Island, NYC, NY I grew up soaking in all the delicious tastes, sounds, and cultures of having all my Grandparents who were born in Southern Italy and Sicily become part of my daily American living. This great mix of cultures helped me form a real bond with good food, traditions, family, friends, local culture and eventually to the stove where I love to recreate the foods of my youth.