Lunch Bunch: Basil-Pecan Stuffed Mushroom Caps

This is a favorite (and easy) appetizer that looks more impressive than the time it takes to prepare.

12 large white mushrooms

Olive oil (for brushing)

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1 Cup finely chopped onion

3-4 Garlic cloves (minced)

1/2 Cup toasted wheat germ

4 Tablespoons fine chopped pecans

4 Tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 Tablespoons soy sauce

2 Tablespoons minced fresh FLAT-LEAF parsley

2 Tablespoons minced fresh basil

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Dashof (Hungarian) paprika

Parchment paper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Quickly rinse and use a mushroom brush to brush away dirt from mushrooms.  Remove the stems from mushrooms.  Finely chop enough stems to yield 1 cup and set aside.  Lightly brush the mushroom caps with oil.  Place the caps, rounded-side down, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Stuffing:  Melt the butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add the mushroom stems and garlic; continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms and onion are tender, about 4-5 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat.  Stir in all the remaining stuffing ingredients.  Taste and adjust the seasoning.

To serve, fill the mushroom caps with the stuffing; sprinkle with paprika.  Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the stuffing is heated through and lightly browned.  Serve immediately.

Prep tips:  Stuffing can be made a day in advance, covered and refrigerated.  Mushrooms can be stuffed up to 2 hours before baking; cover and refrigerate; bring to room temperature before baking.

Image and alternative recipe found at www.food.com.

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