Mushroom gathering in Italy is almost a secretive and elusive venture. Those who know where the best spots are for harvesting keep them to themselves. There are many species available; the most common are boletus, or porcini. They are cooked very simply with just a touch of seasoning to highlight their woodsy flavor. When porcini are dried, their flavor intensifies and they can be stored for long periods. This recipe substitutes large cultivated mushrooms, since fresh porcini are unavailable, but portobellos or creminis can be used. But using dried porcini as part of the stuffing helps approximate the real thing.
1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup cold water
16 large (2 inches wide) mushrooms
5 tablespoons Filippo Berio Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 salted anchovies, mashed
3/4 cup toasted bread crumbs
1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Place the porcini in a bowl, cover with cold water, and soak for 30 minutes. Drain the porcini, cut them in small pieces, and set aside. Save the soaking water for a soup or sauce.
Wipe the fresh mushrooms with damp paper towels. Remove the stems by twisting them gently; dice stems and set aside. Arrange the mushroom caps on a sheet of aluminum foil on a baking sheet, and set aside.
In a skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the mushroom stems and garlic, and sauté until stems are soft and liquid has evaporated. Add the anchovies and porcini, and continue to sauté for 1 minute. Remove the mixture to a bowl. Add the bread crumbs, cheese, and salt and pepper. Combine the mixture well and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Fill the mushroom caps with some of the filling, mounding it up slightly. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the mushrooms.
Place a second sheet of aluminum foil over the mushrooms and seal the edges by folding in on the foil. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove the top sheet of foil and bake an additional 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
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