Sausage Stuffed Mushroom Appetizers
- 2 mild Italian sausages
- ¼ teaspoon fennel seeds
- pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
- ¼ cup finely minced yellow onion
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- ¼ cup chopped black olives
- 1/3 cup Béchamel sauce (see recipe below)
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 24 large white mushrooms
- Parmesan cheese to taste
Béchamel Sauce- (these amounts will yield approx. 1/3 cup for recipe)
- 1 tbl. sweet butter
- 1 ½ tbl. all-purpose flour
- ½ cup milk
- salt, freshly ground black pepper, and freshly grated nutmeg to taste
- Melt butter in a heavy saucepan. Sprinkle in the flour and cook gently, stirring almost constantly, for 5 minutes. Do not let the flour and butter brown at all.
- Meanwhile, bring the milk to a boil. When milk reaches a boil, remove butter and flour mixture from heat and pour in the boiling milk all at once. As the mixture boils and bubbles, beat it vigorously with a wire whisk.
- When the bubbling stops, return the pan to medium heat and bring the béchamel to a boil, stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
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- Remove sausage meat from casings and crumble into a small skillet. Sauté gently, stirring often, until meat is thoroughly done. Season with fennel and, if desired, red pepper flakes.
- With a slotted spoon, remove sausage to a bowl, leaving the rendered fat in the skillet.
- Sauté onion and garlic in the rendered fat until tender and golden, about 10-15 minutes.
- Stir in chopped parsley and add to reserved sausage meat.
- Stir olives and béchamel into the sausage mixture; combine thoroughly. Taste the mixture, and season with salt and pepper if necessary.
- Pull the stems off the mushrooms and wipe the mushroom caps with a damp cloth.
- Fill each cap generously with the stuffing. Arrange caps in a lightly oiled baking dish.
- Sprinkle the tops of the stuffing with Parmesan cheese to taste.
- Bake at 450 for about 15 minutes, and let settle for 5 minutes before serving.