serves: 6 - 8 as an appetizer
Italians stuff all kinds of vegetables, such as peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, and more. In America, white button mushrooms were plentiful and cheap, and delicious when stuffed, so the Italians added them to their stuffed vegetable list. Stuffed mushrooms of different varieties can now be found in Italian American homes and restaurants, from the simple button mushrooms to the large portobellos. All types make a delicious dish and satisfy today’s vegetarian diners as well. I like mushrooms best stuffed simply with bread crumbs and cheese, but I have seen them stuffed with everything from crabmeat to shrimp to foie gras. Let your fancy guide you.
24 white or cremini mushrooms
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup scallions , finely chopped
¼ cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
¼ cup fine dry bread crumbs
6 tablespoons Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
3 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
½ cup dry white wine
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Remove the stems from the mushrooms (set the caps aside), and fi nely chop them. Put the stems in a large bowl, and add the scallions, bell pepper, bread crumbs, 3 tablespoons of the grated cheese, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, and half the salt. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, to moisten all of the crumbs and make a fairly tight stuffi ng. Combine the white wine and ¹⁄₂ cup hot water in a small bowl, and season with the remaining salt.
Spread the butter all around the bottom of a 9- by- 13- inch Pyrex baking dish. Fill the mushroom caps with the stuffi ng, and fit them in the baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the mushrooms, and drizzle on the remaining olive oil. Pour the wine and water around the mushrooms in the baking dish.
Bake until the mushrooms are crisp on top but tender and the juices are bubbling underneath, about 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size. If there is too much juice left in the baking dish, pour it into a small pan and reduce to thicken. Otherwise, stir the remaining parsley into the pan and serve sauce with the mushrooms.