There are some things you just don't mess with. If you've got any sense in your head at all, that is.
I wouldn't screw around with My Sainted Mother's stuffed mushroom recipe if God him-or-herself commanded it.
They're perfect. Whatever would be the point?
An associate who once sampled the stuffed mushrooms in my mother's kitchen years ago recently whispered to me (indelicately, I thought) that my mushrooms are actually better. Trust me, they aren't.
How could they be? I often must buy mushrooms packed in blue foam containers, from a soulless supermarket the size of a giant aircraft hangar. Mom bought hers from a man named Vinny, in a store no bigger than my living room. The mushrooms were packed in wooden boxes with iron handles, and the boxes always sat next to big metal cans filled with fresh, creamy ricotta that Vinny would scoop out in whatever quantity you needed.
Vinny's shop was across the street from our apartment and so Sunday mornings I'd invariably be sent there for one thing or another.
"If he's got mushrooms get a box," mom would say, even though she didn't need to, I already knew. "But tell Vinny that I don't want them if they're not white, white."
Vinny and I played out this weekly ritual throughout most of my childhood. I don't ever remember him giving me mushrooms that didn't meet my mother's standards. And I can't ever recall not loving what mom did to the white, white mushrooms once I'd brought them home to her.
So, anyway, about that recipe. You clean the mushrooms under cool running water and then dry them in a kitchen towel.
Gently remove the stems and chop finely for use in the stuffing. (The full recipe is below, but there's really nothing to it at all.)
Pack the mushrooms with the stuffing, like so.
And make sure to drizzle olive oil over every single one of them before baking.
Around 40 minutes later and you've got yourself some very fine funghi indeed.
If I were you I wouldn't change a thing.
Mom's stuffed mushrooms
1 lb. whole mushrooms
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
4 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. parsley, finely chopped
3 Tbsp. grated Pecorino Romano cheese
3 Tbsp. breadcrumbs
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Wash the mushrooms and then dry thoroughly in a kitchen towel.
Remove the stems and chop finely.
Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the stems, onion and garlic. Saute for about five minutes.
Remove from heat and empty into a mixing bowl. Add the breadcrumbs, parsley, cheese, salt and pepper, and mix well.
Stuff the mushroom caps and place on a baking sheet. Sprinkle olive oil over all the mushrooms, then place in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes.
Allow to rest a few minutes before serving. (Mom always served Vinny's mushrooms at room temperature, which is the way I still like to eat them.)