It’s story time with Miss Diane! Gather ’round kids.
Once there was a little girl who was a very picky eater. She didn’t like spicy foods, she didn’t like foods that were “too green,” and was generally scared of foods she’d never tried before. Eventually, the little girl grew up to be a college student who, while still being a picky eater, loved to eat.
One day, the girl had a realization. If I get over my pickiness, she thought, I can eat more food! Maybe I don’t actually hate the things I don’t think I like… maybe I never gave them a proper chance.
And so she started with mushrooms. She took some plump, pretty mushrooms, and stuffed them with everything she liked: bacon, bread crumbs, cheese, garlic…
If I don’t like them stuffed with all these good things, she thought, then I probably actually hate them. She took a fat, juicy stuffed mushroom between her fingers and took a bite. She’s been loving mushrooms ever since.
16 large stuffing mushrooms, such as crimini
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic
4 cups spinach, loosely packed
1/4 cup cooked, chopped bacon
1/3 cup sharp cheddar, grated
1/2 cup tomato sauce (homemade or store-bought)
3/4 cup bread crumbs, divided
Heat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
Clean and stem the mushrooms. Put the caps aside for now and finely chop the stems. Mince the shallot and garlic, and roughly chop the spinach.
In a large skillet over medium heat, stir together the olive oil, shallot, and a pinch of salt and cook until the shallot turns translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, then add the chopped mushroom stems. Cook, stirring, for another 3-4 minutes. Add the spinach and cook until wilted. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to sit until cool enough to handle.
Using clean hands, squeeze the spinach mixture until most of the liquid has been squeezed out and discard the excess liquid. Place the spinach mixture in a bowl and stir in the bacon, cheddar, tomato sauce, and 1/4 cup of the bread crumbs.
Stuff spoonfuls of the spinach mixture into the mushroom caps. Tightly pack the filling, creating small mounds. Dip the tops into the remaining bread crumbs and brush or spray with olive oil.
Place the stuffed mushrooms on a baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes, until the filling is heated through and the bread crumbs on top are golden brown. Serve hot.