Lunar Eclipse Stuffed Mushrooms With Spaghetti
It was the night of the lunar eclipse and the bucket of large white mushrooms I had purchased the day before reminded me of little full moons. I decided to invent a special dish for the occasion of the September Blood Moon, by using ingredients I happened to have on hand.
I am not going to give you exact measurements of ingredients here, but will give you a good idea and perhaps some inspiration for how this can be done to your individual taste, by showing you how I put it together.
It was quite good, and I will not be waiting for the next eclipse before doing it again.
Ready for the Table
Preparing the 'Shrooms
Start by preparing the mushrooms. Remove the stems and save them. Trim the underside of the caps, and use a melon-baller or a small spoon to scoop the insides of the caps slightly, especially if the caps are thick and meaty. Save the trimmings. It's all good.
Put your caps (six,eight or ten of them, depending on size) in a baking dish you will be using for the spaghetti, Sprinkle the caps with a few spoons full of water or broth. Cover the dish and microwave for about three minutes, or until caps are slightly softened.
Start the Stuffing
Chop mushroom stems and scraps finely and saute slightly in a little olive oil. I also used two large crushed cloves of garlic, chopped green onion, two small precooked breakfast sausage links, and a small piece of leftover cooked chicken breast -- everything chopped finely.
I added the broth left from the microwaved mushroom caps and simmered it all on low in a small frying pan for a few minutes.
Al Dente Pasta
Assemble Your Dish for Baking
Boil your spaghetti or pasta and drain. Put it in the baking dish and add your favorite sauce. A marinara works well.
Separate enough filling mixture into a bowl and mix it with an almost equal amount of a soft cheese spread, or some grated Parmesan or Asagio cheese.
Fill the mushroom caps generously. The mixture should have enough cheese or mayo sauce to make it hang together. I used a seasoned dip that had a mayo base with Parmesan cheese and chopped artichoke hearts from Stonemill Kitchens.
If you can't find this particular brand, I think a Rondele cheese dip would work fine. OR... this is where you use a little creativity and make for own ingredient with mayo and grated cheese.
Any of the filling mix that doesn't fit in the caps can be stirred into the pasta and sauce.
Press the filled caps into the pasta and sauce, leaving a little space between each.
Ready for the Oven
Filled mushroom caps were pressed into the spagetti and sauce, then partially eclipsed with a little more sauce. Make sure your pasta has enough sauce and liquid, so that it does not dry out during baking in the oven.
I used my toaster oven for this part, and checked a couple of times to make sure it didn't dry out.
You could also cover the dish with foil to keep it moist, but the mushrooms are better if they are just barely browned or broiled on top.
Salad and Side
Salad and Side
While your mushrooms and spaghetti are baking, prepare a green salad of your choice. I also added a side of sliced papaya garnished with Italian parsley. You may want to add a different fruit like orange slices, or some steamed green vegetable like zucchini or green beans on the side.
I also made some toasted sunflower seed bread for little crunch.
You may want to sprinkle some Parmesan or grated Asagio cheese on the "un-eclipsed" side of the mushrooms, or over the whole dish. This can be done either before or after baking. (I did it after, because I forgot.)
- Large mushrooms
- garlic, chopped
- sausage or chicken, optional, or both, or beef
- mayo or cheese dip
- whole wheat thin pasta, boiled al dente
- pasta sauce, homemade or jar
- Parma or Asagio cheese, grated
With small glass of wine, this was actually better than the eclipse viewing, which was mostly obscured by low clouds in our area.
UPDATE: A Fail and A Save
Though no eclipse was predicted, I decided to try this again when I found some nice big mushrooms at the grocery store.
I got all of my ingredients together, stemmed the mushrooms, and set to work. For some reason I had bought seven 'shrooms, and only six caps fit in the baking dish I was using to precook them.
In fact, six of them filled the dish completely. After sprinkling in a little chicken broth I put them in the microwave to slightly bake and soften slightly so they would be ready to fill when I had the rest of the ingredients ready.
I set the microwave for about two minutes ... at least that's what I thought. A few minutes later I smelled something burning, and began searching my stovetop for something that might have fallen on a burner while I was coking the pasta and sauce.
Then I realized that I had set the micro timer wrong or hit the wrong button and my beautiful mushrooms were turning into tiny charcoal briquets.
Obviously, my recipe was destined for a big revision. I couldn't use the cremated caps, and it would be silly to make the pasta and sauce adorned with the one remaining mushroom. I searched for alternatives and found a couple of them in the refrigerator.
I found a large zuchinni squash which I cut in large slices and hollowed with a melon baller to make little cups. I also had some sweet peppers that I cut in half and seeded. These, along with the surviving mushroom cap, were precooked in the microwave while being carefully watched.
The substitute ingredients were stuffed and loaded with cheese before going into the oven. No eclipse this time-- just full, cheesy "moons".
The revised recipe was just as good, and looked better after the cheese melted. Unfortunately We were too busy eating and forgot to take a photo of the finished dish.