Stuffed mushrooms are the perfect appetizer or party food because they are easy to make, incorporate vegetables and represent fine dining. Mushrooms stuffed with breadcrumbs is a classic Italian dish that uses large or small button mushrooms, Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs and, of course, Parmesan cheese. They are baked, contain very little butter and can act as a healthy hors d'oeuvre or side dish to a sit-down meal.
Make the Italian breadcrumbs. You can use store bought plain crumbs, or you can make your own. To make your own, crush your dried bread into very fine pieces. You can use any type of stale bread, including white, French or sourdough. It must be hard to the touch and should sound hollow when you tap it against the counter). Use a food processor to quickly grind the pieces, or crush them by hand or in a mortar and pestle. Transfer the crumbs to a bowl, and stir in the salt, parsley, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano and basil. Combine well, and set aside.
Scrub your mushrooms well. You can use any type or size you like; however, the large button-sized mushrooms tend to work the best because they have a cup size large enough to hold the stuffing. Instead of 12 large button mushrooms, you could use 24 smaller ones. Once clean, cut off the entire stem so that there appears now a cavernous hole in the mushroom. Set the mushroom caps aside, and mince the stems; you will use them in the filling.
Heat butter in a medium skillet over medium heat, and add the minced garlic. Sauté just until soft, and add the chopped mushroom stems, fresh parsley and breadcrumbs. Cook for a few minutes or until the breadcrumbs become crisp and golden. Stir well, and add the Parmesan cheese. Move the skillet to a back burner, and allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes.
Place the stemmed mushroom caps open-side up on a parchment- or Silpat-lined baking tray or in a long casserole dish. Using a spoon, tightly pack the stuffing mixture into the mushrooms. Drizzle the filled caps with olive oil, and bake at 190 degrees Cor about 25 minutes. The mushrooms are ready when you see melted and bubbly cheese and browned mushroom skin. Serve immediately.
There are many ways to add protein or other flavours to the stuffed mushrooms. If you wish to add meat, add crumbled pancetta or sausage to the stuffing mix during Step 3. You can also add alternative flavours such as chopped olives, roasted peppers or sun-dried tomatoes. The possibilities are endless.