When my family gathers, there are always lots of things to eat and drink–as it’s always a kind of “open-door” scenerio, we never know how many friends or other relations may stop by. One of the standards are my cousin Amy’s stuffed mushrooms. They are super simple and a total guilty pleasure–as the filling consists of sausage and cream cheese. Even though I love her version…I had to do my own version…I just can’t help myself!
For these mushrooms I swapped breakfast sausage for spicy italian (I’ll add heat anywhere I can), reduced the cream cheese by quite a bit, added some parmesan, a bit of wilted spinach for color and science, and some intensely sweet and chewy sun dried tomatoes. I added more parm and a little panko to the top for toast-iness and crunch. I think these stuffed mushrooms are the perfect 2-bite appetizer–they don’t have to be served super hot and you can eat them one handed, freeing your other hand for cocktail wrangling. Which, is totally key for appetizer greatness, amiright?!
Sausage, Spinach, and Sundried Tomato Stuffed Mushrooms
Makes 12 large stuffed mushrooms.
I used neufchatel-style cream cheese (1/3 less fat) instead of cream cheese and I don’t think the results suffered at all…but go ahead and use the regular cream cheese if you like. I think one could go even further in the flavor department and add capers or briny olives to the filling–I didn’t think of it at the time, but I bet it’d be delish! (PS, my grocery store sells mushroom caps for stuffing, you can use regular button or cremini mushrooms–they will be smaller and will make double the amount in smaller mushrooms).
12 large mushroom caps
1 spicy italian sausage link
2 cups fresh baby spinach
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic, minced
2 ounces neufchatel or cream cheese (cut from an 8 ounce block), softened
4-6 sun dried tomatoes, chopped
4 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, divided
3 tablespoons panko bread crumbs, divided
Preheat the oven to 375˚F and line a baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.
Brush off any soil stuck the the surface of the mushrooms with a pastry brush or dampened towel. Remove the stems and place the caps, well-side down, on the baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool while you prepare the filling.
In a skillet over medium-high heat, remove the sausage from the casing and crumble into the pan. Cook, breaking up the sausage into small crumbles with a wooden spoon, until browned and cooked through. Remove from skillet onto some paper towels to drain the grease and cool completely Pour the remaining grease out of the pan, return to the heat and add the spinach, red pepper, garlic, and a sprinkle of salt. Cook the spinach over medium until wilted. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool completely. Once cooled, squeeze the spinach to remove excess liquid. Chop coarsely.
In a small bowl combine 2 tablespoons of the parmesan with 2 tablespoons of the panko, drizzle with olive oil (1 teaspoon or so), and mix together with a fork to combine. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, stir the softened cheese until creamy and slightly loosened. Add the sun dried tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of the parmesan, 1 tablespoon of the panko, the cooked and cooled sausage, and the chopped, wilted spinach, and fold to combine. Spoon the filling into the pre-baked mushroom caps, sprinkle with the parm-panko mixture and bake in the 375˚F oven for another 10-15 minutes or until the tops are lightly browned.