Monthly Archives: December 2009

Heavenly Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

Thanksgiving…check.  Christmas…check.
I have officially gobbled, wolfed, munched, chomped and devoured my way through the holiday season. Do I have any room left for New Year’s Eve? Of course! After that, I don’t plan on looking at another piece of roasted meat for quite a while!
I have to say, I am not a huge fan of New Year’s Eve. I don’t like rowdy crowds of drunken people and the song “ Auld Lang Syne” makes me cry. I don’t want to forget old acquaintance. I don’t like change. 
 I am not saying my aversion for the night got in the way of woopin’ it up in past years. I have certainly done my share of serious celebrating.  But now that our angels are here, the only count down that has taken place in our house is how long it takes from the time my head hits the pillow until the time I enter into la la land! I would have to classify the past four New Year’s Eves as seriously lame. Big Daddy and I haven’t even been able to make it to midnight!  I know! We are pathetic!
This year it is going to be different. The girls, age 2 and 4 are not draining quite as much energy from our exhausted bodies and they will hopefully be in bed before the ball drops (finger’s crossed). I have it all planned. I am hoping to sit back on the couch with my honey, a bottle of champagne, some munchies and On Demand!
I am thinking maybe some nachos, a few Buffalo wings and these really yummy sausage stuffed mushrooms. I might even splurge on my favorite, a bottle ( or two) of Veuve! Oh yeah!
If you are looking for a great recipe to help you ring in the New Year give this one a try!
I found these big beautiful babies at the market last week. They were huge. Start by removing just the stems. Don’t scoop any of the meat out of the mushroom.

Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms
  • 16 extra-large white mushrooms
  • 5 tablespoons good olive oil, divided
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons Marsala or sherry
  • 3/4 pound hot Italian sausage, removed from the casings
  • 6 scallions, white and green parts, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2/3 cup panko crumbs
  • 5 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Asiago Cheese
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chopped the stems and pour the Marsala and 2 tablespoons of olive oil over and stir lightly to coat. Set aside.
In a skillet heat the remaining olive oil and fry the sausage meat, chopping it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Cook until sausage meat is brown 10 minutes.

When the meat is brown add the mushroom stems and garlic. Cook until tender 4 minutes. Add the scallions, bread crumbs and mascarpone cheese. Stir gently until mascarpone melts. Take off the heat and add the Asiago cheese.
The mixture will look a little oily from the sausage fat but don’t worry. You will need the moisture when baking the mushrooms.
Spoon the mixture into each of the mushrooms and place on a sheet pan covered with parchment paper.
By the way…small detour…I LOVE parchment paper. Even if a recipe doesn’t call for a greased sheet or lined pan I use parchment. It makes clean up so much easier. If I am baking something on a sheet pan that may drip (meatloaf) I line the sheet with parchment and then I don’t have to scrub the pan.
Another side note. The silver spoon you frequently see in the posts belonged to my Grandmother. It is an over sized tablespoon and I use it all the time. It is my most valued kitchen utensil. It is also the spoon my daughter Rose is holding in the banner for Kitchen Contessa!
Pour any of the left over fat onto the mushrooms! Don’t be shy!
Bake the mushrooms 350 degrees 40 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender when poked with the tip of a knife.
Happy New Year!

Sweet Potato Gnocchi in a Brown Butter Gorgonzola Sauce with Crispy Sage and Chestnuts

I grew up on my grandparent’s homemade potato gnocchi. They were made with russet potatoes and flour, that’s it. They always served them with the tomato sauce they made famous, “Trio’s Sauce” A big handful of Pecorino Romano was put on top of each serving.

If I had put a plate of these sweet potato gnocchi in front of my grandfather he would have snubbed his nose, made a “yuuuuukkk” sound and given me a look of disgust. My grandmother would have tasted them, and probably loved them, but would have called them “nouveau” which she mocked.
I was making a batch of gorgonzola sauce out of the Cremaldi Cookbook and I noticed three sweet potatoes sitting on my counter.
I cut off a piece and dipped it into the sauce. Mmmmmm was it good! I started thinking…gorgonzola sauce over sweet potato fettucini…gorgonzola sauce and potato…GNOCCHI!
Gnocchi have a bad rap for being difficult to master. The addition of egg in this recipe helps hold them together during cooking and makes them very light.

It is a great first course or main course during the holidays.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi
1 lb sweet potatoes or yams
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 egg
½ teaspoon nutmeg

1. Pierce the sweet potatoes with a knife and place in a 350° oven for 30-40 mins until tender. Cool and peel.

2. Squeeze sweet potatoes through a ricer.

3. In a small bowl combined egg, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Wisk.

4. Make a well in the mound of sweet potatoes and add the egg mixture (I used a fork for the whole process) incorporate well.

5. Add the flour and knead until a dough forms. It will be very soft and slightly sticky.

6. Flour your work surface and cut dough into 4-5 pieces. Roll into ropes ¾ inch thick.

7. Cut the ropes into ½ inch pieces. Lay out on well floured sheet pan in a single layer. Freeze. Once the gnocchi are hard put in ZipLoc© bag and store in freezer for up to two months.

To Cook Gnocchi:

1. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add half the gnocchi and stir carefully. When water comes back to a boil and gnocchi begin to float (3 mins) strain and add directly to sauce.

Now at this point you have a choice. You can go ahead and make the Brown Butter Gorgonzola Sauce or you can just make a Brown Butter Sauce without the gorgonzola. I am going to give you both recipes.

Brown Butter Gorgonzola Sauce with Chopped Chestnuts
2 tablespoons of butter
½ cup imported Gorgonzola Dolce
1 heaping tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
Jarred Cooked Chestnuts

1. In a small sauce pan melt the butter until it is bubbling and starts to turn brown.

2. Add the sage and fry until crispy (30 seconds)

3. Add the gorgonzola and melt. Remove from heat and wisk to incorporate.

4. Add gnocchi and coat well. Plate and garnish with chopped chestnuts (I used cooked chestnuts out of a jar. You can buy at any specialty shop. Some are packed in water and that is fine)

Brown Butter Sauce with Crispy Sage Leaves and Sliced Chestnuts
2 tablespoon Butter
Fresh ground pepper
Whole sage leaves, enough to garnish all of your plates (2 per plate)
Jarred Cooked Chestnuts
Pecorino Romano, shaved

1. Melt butter in small sauce pan over medium flame until bubbling. Add sage leaves and fry for 30 seconds. Remove and set aside.

2. Let the butter slowly brown. Add gnocchi to pan and coat. Plate and garnish with shaved Pecorino Romano, Crispy Sage Leaves and thinly sliced Chestnuts.


The Cremaldi Cookbook

Thank you Lleia and Congratulations! Please email me at so that I can get your signed cookbook out to you! Genevieve

I am feeling very bad about not having any new posts for the month of November. I have been working on a Sweet Potato Gnocchi in a Brown Butter Gorgonzola Sauce with Crispy Sage and Chestnuts post. I promise it will be up soon!
I am going to give away a signed copy of The Cremaldi Cookbook!
All you have to do is answer this question in the comment section by 7 pm EST Sunday December 6, 2009. A randomly drawn winner will be picked and announced right here on the blog by Monday December 7, 2009 3 pm EST!
Ok here is the question…

Time’s Up! A winner will be posted by tomorrow at 3 pm EST. Thank you for everyone who entered! I really enjoyed reading about your favorite holiday dishes. Genevieve

What is your favorite dish to serve during the holidays?

Good luck!
Thanks for being so patient! Genevieve