That’s right. I’m about to take you on a blast from the past. When mushrooms collide with goat cheese, pancetta, chives and shallots, they transform into little retro rock stars. Still as cool as ever, they’re kind of like your crazy aunt who wears (and totally pulls off) groovy clothes from the seventies. Everyone knows she’s quirky, but she still rocks. Whether at a Bar Mitzvah, or an uppity steak house, she is the life of the party. If there’s ever a lull in the conversation, she can tell you far-out stories of all the places she has been, man.
Stuffed mushrooms have graced the orange serving platters of Seventies cocktail parties, fine china on white wedding tablecloths, and even the pages of Julia Child’s The Art of French Cooking. Each mushroom reflects it’s own era. Some are timeless, some are not. Julia Child’s mushrooms brushed with butter and baked with swiss cheese, shallots, and parsley? Timeless. Cream cheese with spam and pineapple stuffed mushrooms? Not. Crab stuffed mushrooms? Timeless. My stuffed mushrooms? Not sure, but I can’t imagine how goat cheese and pancetta could go ever out of style.
These little rock stars have been places with me; have helped me celebrate big events with friends and family. Wedding showers and holidays. Fancy schmancy dinners and one year olds’ birthday parties. I’m convinced that good food helps fire up conversation, even if you’re endearingly awkward in social situations as I am. “WHO MADE THESE MUSHROOMS?” is always a great conversation starter.
I turn into the groovy aunt as I wax poetic about whipping together goat cheese and cream cheese; crisping the salty pancetta (bacon’s more suave Italian cousin); sauteing shallots and and garlic in pancetta grease; tossing in chopped chives; stuffing the ridiculous mixture into mushrooms, and crowning them with panko, which turns golden and adds a crunch. My mushroom partakers will know I’m quirky, but still think I rock. You, my friend, will rock as well as you dazzle your friends with your stuffed mushrooms.
When man discovered mushroom, I believe his next thought was to pull out the stem and muse on the possibilities. I’m convinced that the end of the world will happen when stuffed mushrooms cease to exist. Keep humanity alive. Make more stuffed mushrooms. They disappear quickly.
- 1½ lb to 2 lb crimini or Baby Bella Mushrooms
- 1 package (8 0z) cream cheese (leave out of the fridge for 30 minutes to soften)
- 1 log (6 oz) goat cheese (leave out of the fridge for 30 minutes to soften)
- 3 oz thinly sliced pancetta*(see note)
- ⅓ cup minced shallots
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small bunch fresh chives, minced (about ¼ cup) and extra for garnishing (if desired)
- 1 cup panko (japanese breadcrumbs)
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400˚F
- Pour some salt in your hand. Wet each mushroom, and rub it in the salt to remove the dirt (this also seasons the mushrooms). Rinse and dry the mushrooms, then remove to a large rimmed baking sheet.
- In a medium bowl, mix the cream cheese and goat cheese until combined. Set aside
- Heat a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook the pancetta until golden (about 1½ to 2 minutes per side) until golden (the pancetta will crisp up as it cools). Remove to paper towels. When cool, crumble the pancetta and set aside.
- In the same pan, saute the shallots in the pancetta drippings until softened (about 3 minutes). Add garlic and cook for another minute.
- In a medium bowl, mix the cream cheese and goat cheese until combined. Add the crumbled pancetta, shallots and garlic, chives, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
- Using a spoon, generously fill each mushroom cap. Dip the top of each mushroom in the panko, and then put back on the baking sheet. Lightly spray the mushroom tops with olive or canola oil.
- Bake the mushrooms in a 400˚ oven for 12-18 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.
- Pancetta is Italian dry-cured pork belly similar to bacon. Here in Denver, I buy mine from Sprouts or Whole Foods. You can substitute regular bacon if necessary.
- The filling can be made up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated.