Friday, May 23, 2008

Stuffed Mushrooms and Toscana Soup

One of my favorite places to go out to eat is the Olive Garden. I absolutely LOVE it!! Everytime we go there we get the Stuffed Mushrooms and the Toscana Soup - they are both delicious.

A while back my Father said that he wished that we could make them at home - well, after some digging...I found a website called Top Secret Recipes. If you have never heard of it - it is kind of cool. The title on their page reads, "Creating kitchen clones of America's favorite name-brand foods". Basically, it is people who pick apart and try to copy recipes. These two were really good.

Photo courtesy of Olive Garden website

Stuffed Mushrooms

1/3 cup Progresso breadcrumbs (herb flavor)
1/4 cup canned minced clams (drain liquid)
1 Tblsp. shredded Parmesan cheese
1 Tblsp. shredded Romano cheese
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
3 Tblsp. chicken broth
12 medium white button mushrooms with stems removed
3 Tblsp. butter, melted
2 Tblsp. minced red bell pepper
2 to 3 slices mozzarella cheese
1/2 tsp minced fresh parsley

(both the bell pepper and the parsley are solely for apperance and don't make a difference in the taste and can be left off)

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

2. Combine breadcrumbs, clams, Parmesan cheese, Romano cheese and garlic in a medium bowl. Use your hands to mix everything together. Add the chicken broth 1 tablespoon at a time and stir after each addition with a spoon. Keep the stuffing fluffy by not over stirring.

3. Fill each of the mushroom caps with 1 to 2 teaspoons of the stuffing (depending on the size of the mushroom). Keep the filling pretty loose but make the top surface flat to support the sliced cheese. Arrange the stuffed mushrooms in a shallow baking dish with the stuffing facing up.

4. Use a brush to dab melted butter over each mushroom. Add enough so that the butter trickles down the sides of each mushroom and rests in the baking dish. Pour any leftover butter into the dish, then scoot the mushrooms next to each other.

5. Sprinkle minced red bell pepper over the tops of the stuffed mushrooms.

6. Arrange the slices of cheese over the mushrooms. Tear the slices to cover all of the mushrooms leaving no stuffing uncovered.

7. Back the mushrooms for 12 to 15 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown.

Zuppa Toscana

2 3/4 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 meduim russet potato
2 cups chopped kale (spinach works well too)
1/2 pound spicy Italian sausage
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (does not make it too spicy)

1. Combine the broth and cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

2. Slice the unpeeled potato into 1/4 inch slices, then quarter the slices and add them to the soup.

3. Add the kale.

4. Grill and saute the sausage. When cooked and cooled, cut the sausage at an angle into slices about 1/2 inch thick. Add the sausage to the soup.

5. Add the spices and let the soup simmer for about 1 hour. Stir occasionally.

Serves 2 as an entree, 4 as an appetizer.

No comments: