Where do recipes come from? For me, mostly I see what is available seasonally in the grocery sore, I refer to traditional and non-traditional flavor combinations that I enjoy and most people enjoy and I go for it. This is one of those recipes.
This dish was part of a weekly menu I prepared for a client that included chicken Milanese, king salmon with chimichurri plus vegetable sides, herbed orzo and a caprese salad. I was on an Italian vibe mostly.
I saw these beautiful organic portabella mushrooms that I was just going to grill, but then I came across organic hot pork sausage. And, as a New Yorker, when I think of pork sausage, it must be served with peppers and onions. So here is my Sausage + Peppers Stuffed Portabellas made “parmesan” with leftover buffalo mozzarella.
4 large (4-5 inch diameter) portabella mushroom caps (stems removed, gills removed with a spoon, wiped clean with a damp paper towel)
salt & pepper
1 cup onion, diced finely
1 cup red, yellow or orange bell pepper, diced finely
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pinch dried basil
1 pinch of crushed red pepper (optional, if using sweet sausage)
1 lbs Italian sausage (hot or sweet or mixed), removed from casing
½ cup breadcrumbs
½ cup good simple marinara sauce (I like Rao’s)
1 egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup grated pecorino romano cheese
buffalo mozzarella cheese
fresh basil leaves
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Lightly brush olive oil on both sides of the prepared mushroom caps and lightly season with salt and pepper. Place caps bottom up on a foil and parchment line sheet pan. Bake for 15 minutes.
In a skillet over medium heat sauté onion and bell pepper in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until onions are translucent. Turn off heat and immediately add garlic, dried basil and crushed red pepper (if using). Stir to combine and let cool.
In a bowl combine sausage, breadcrumbs, marinara, egg, and pecorino cheese using a fork to blend mixture. Add cooled vegetable mixture and continue to combine all ingredients with the fork. Add more marinara if needed. Season with a little salt and pepper but be mindful of the salt in the other ingredients.
Evenly fill the mushroom tops with the sausage mixture.
Return to the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. When done, remove from oven, top each with marinara sauce and a slice of fresh mozzarella.
Place back in the oven for 5-10 minutes, or place under the broiler, to melt the cheese. Garnish each with a fresh basil leaf.
Vegetarian? Replace the meat with cooked rice or grain and/or your favorite bean.
These little babies are good as an entrée with the herbed orzo and caprese salad but between two pieces of ciabatta or focaccia bread with fresh tomato and greens would be a burger for the ages.