BAKED STUFFED MUSHROOMS ITALIENNE
4 appetizer servings (16 stuffed mushrooms)
Clean mushrooms, preferably with a mushroom brush, and dry thoroughly; remove stems and finely chop. Set aside caps. Remove any casing from sausage and crumble.
In a medium heavy skillet, sauté mushroom stems and sausage over moderate heat until sausage is browned; drain off excess drippings in skillet. Stir in garlic, Parmesan cheese, marinara or tomato sauce, minced parsley, and sweet vermouth and Italian herbs or seasoning, if desired, mixing well. Fill mushroom caps with mixture, dividing evenly and rounding tops.
Place stuffed mushrooms in a shallow baking pan. Add water and olive oil to pan. Bake, uncovered, in a preheated moderate oven (350 degrees F.) for 20 minutes. Remove stuffed mushrooms with a slotted spoon. Arrange 3 to 4 mushrooms on each of four appetizer plates; garnish each with sprigs of oregano or parsley, and serve immediately.
Note: Mushrooms are highly perishable and should be purchased for immediate use. Refrigerate in the original carton or in a plastic bag with air holes for up to two days, if necessary. Do not clean until ready to use.
Note: May use a turkey Italian-style sausage, if desired. If using turkey Italian-style sausage, liberally coat skillet with olive oil-flavored non-caloric vegetable cooking spray.
Variation: May wish to add 2 to 3 teaspoons finely snipped fresh oregano to tomato sauce, if desired.
Mushrooms For A Crowd: Triple or quadruple recipe; allow 2 to 3 mushrooms per person if serving other appetizers and hors d'oeuvres. May use medium-size mushrooms, if desired. Prepare in advance and freeze on baking sheets; store, tightly sealed, in a large rectangular or round container. To serve, thaw and reheat, covered, on ungreased baking sheets in a preheated moderate oven (350 degrees F.) until heated through, about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve in the brazier of a chafing dish over very hot water, allowing mushrooms to remain hot. Accompany with wooden picks for spearing mushrooms.