Judge Rosemarie Aquilina shares a family-favorite appetizer that both vegetarians and meat-eaters devour.
By Rosemarie Aquilina
Photography by Sylvia Jarrus
My family requires these on my New Year’s appetizer table. They look complicated, but are easy and worth the effort! The recipe is easy to adjust and make your own version as desired. In addition to diced red pepper, I have also added diced zucchini with seeds removed. You can be creative with these — they never fail!
I serve these stuffed mushrooms as an appetizer or a side dish. I often serve these when I have a mixture of meat eaters and vegetarians. Add a salad and soup, and it makes a meal for non-meat eaters. There are never any leftovers.
18-24 fresh mushroom caps (1-2 inches in diameter, use consistent size for cooking time) button,
cremini, or as desired
6 tablespoons butter
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 pound mushrooms, any type (I use a mixture of mushrooms for best stuffing flavor) for stuffing
2 bunches green onions, chopped, cut into green stems; or 6-8 tablespoons shallots
½ -1 red pepper, as desired, diced small, optional (adds color and flavor)
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk (once added, if seems dry add a little more)
2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped, can use dried parsley if fresh is not available
Salt and pepper to taste
Garlic powder, if desired
Swiss cheese sliced, like for topping sandwiches
Parmesan cheese grated, if desired for an extra “kick”
Wash and dry “stuffing” mushroom caps. Remove the stems and finely chop. Using a grapefruit spoon with a serrated edge, or teaspoon, clean out the mushroom by scooping the insides to maximize stuffing area. Be careful not to scrape mushroom base too thin. If the mushroom breaks, just toss it with the stuffing mushrooms and stems you pulled.
Lightly butter bottom of a foil-covered baking sheet with an edge. Place mushroom caps on prepared sheet ½ inch apart for stuffing.
Wash and chop remaining mushrooms. Dry between paper towels to remove as much moisture as possible.
In a large frying pan over medium heat, place butter, garlic, green onions or shallots and chopped mushroom pieces. Do not burn. Adjust heat as needed. After about 5 minutes, add chopped red pepper if you are using it. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes or until most of the moisture evaporates from the pan. Add parsley.
Make a roux from the remaining butter in pan by adding flour and milk to the pan. You will fry the flour in the pan to rid it of the flour taste, and this makes the roux with the butter and milk. Cook until thickened. If you think you need to add more milk, add a little at a time. It should not be watery, nor should it be a big “glop.” It should be like a thick soup or oatmeal consistency. Do not burn; watch heat and lower if needed. Some moisture is OK because it will bake out.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Add garlic powder, if desired, to taste.
When mixture is thickened and at the flavored to taste, fill each mushroom cap using two teaspoons — one filled and the other to push the mixture off the spoon cleanly inside the cap until a small mound is formed and each cap is filled. If you have extra, add more. If you don’t have enough, steal a little from overfilled caps.
Place in preheated 350-degree F oven for 15 minutes or until mushroom caps are cooked through. Cut sliced cheese into quarters. In last 5 minutes, remove from oven and place one or two of the quarters on the top of each mushroom cap. Add bigger slices for larger mushrooms.
Sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan on top if desired. Don’t sprinkle too much or that’s all you will taste. The Parmesan will make it sharper and a bit saltier, so use it sparingly until you determine how much is preferred. If you like a lot of cheese, you can put it on immediately before baking, but I find midway through or in the last 5 minutes works well.
These mushrooms are delicious hot or cold.
Instead of using the smaller stuffing mushrooms, you can clean and stuff large portobello mushroom caps. Cook the ingredients the same way, adding into the mushroom mixture a diced portabello. Use 8-10 portobello mushrooms, depending on size, and top with whole slices of cheese. This can be a meal, served with a fresh salad and/or steak of your choice. Stuffed portabello mushrooms can also be cut into quarters and served as an appetizer or side dish. Depending on size, they may take 20 to 25 minutes to cook through.