A couple months ago, The Gentleman ordered monkey balls at a sushi restaurant in town. Relax — they’re stuffed, cooked mushrooms, and they are good.
A couple nights ago, he made some! And they were amazing! They are really the easiest little things to throw together and would be great for appetizers or (like us) for dinner.
Here’s the basic recipe: Remove stems and gills of the mushrooms. Add a little bit of ranch dressing. Top with a little bit of thin sliced sharp cheddar. Add a bit of chopped, sliced meat (we’ve tried both ham and pepperoni). Sprinkle a little garlic powder. Top with shredded mozzarella. Bake at 400 for 15 to 25 minutes until the mushrooms are soft and the cheese golden.
And here’s what came out of a little brainstorm between The Gentleman and Katherine from Stilettos and Shotguns, who’d happened to find something similar at her local produce store recently: These mushrooms could be used to replace pasta, and probably any kind of pasta ingredient situation could be modified to fill the mushroom caps, baked and make an amazing meal. Herbed ricotta with sausage? Sauteed leeks with cream cheese and sausage or ham? Ricotta topped with bolognese sauce? Roasted squash with cream cheese and caramelized onions? Green peppers, onions, ham with ranch? Endless possibilities. And use portobellos instead (and probably increase the cooking time just a smidge) for more of an entree feeling or individual pizza crusts.
So, a terrible name, but an amazing little food concoction that is worth trying. Throw in a salad and a glass of wine, and real life just got a little fancy. (Or eat them on paper plates and drink your wine out of juice glasses, ’cause that’s what’s happening in my household).