The Decadent Cheese Ina Garten Uses To Elevate Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

Celebrity chef Ina Garten is well-known for adding elegant and decadent touches to her recipes. A case in point is her recipe for sausage-stuffed mushrooms. In addition to the typical stuffing ingredients like breadcrumbs, aromatics, and seasonings, Garten elevates the umami richness of her stuffed mushrooms with mascarpone cheese.

An iconic Italian cheese from the Lombardy region, mascarpone is most famous for its use in desserts like tiramisu and cheesecake. That said, it's a versatile soft, creamy, and utterly rich ingredient that works just as well in savory dishes. In fact, mascarpone is often a substitute for heavy cream or even ricotta to bolster the consistency and flavor of risotto, pasta, and pizza. Considering mushrooms, sausage, and cooking wine are common ingredients in said dishes, it tracks that adding mascarpone to a sauteed sausage and mushroom filling will have the same decadent, elevated results.

Mascarpone will melt into the mushroom stuffing, complementing the robust umami sausage and mushrooms, salty parmesan cheese, and sweet caramelized garlic and onions with a buttery, subtly tangy dairy richness. Furthermore, it'll saturate and hydrate the stuffing giving it a moist, more cohesive texture that won't dry out or separate when you finish the mushrooms in the oven.

Tips for using mascarpone

Ina Garten stirs a little over half a cup of mascarpone into a stuffing that'll fill around 16 large mushrooms. Much like risotto, she recommends stirring the mascarpone in as the finishing touch, stirring over low heat until it melts and thickens the mixture. You can follow Garten's guidelines for any stuffed mushroom recipe you plan on making. Mascarpone's versatile and creamy nature is an upgrade to any kind of mushroom andĀ its namesake stuffing.

While Garten uses panko breadcrumbs to bind the sausage stuffing, you could use a heartier, creamier pairing like polenta. Polenta and sausage stuffed mushrooms would benefit even more from the decadence of mascarpone. Simply stir mascarpone and parmesan into savory polenta at the tail end of its cooking time before adding it to the mushrooms and topping it with ground sausage. Mascarpone-infused polenta will make for the richest, creamiest consistency to complement the meaty chew of the mushrooms and ground sausage.

For an earthy, vegetarian option, you could use mascarpone instead of mayonnaise and milk in this simple stuffed mushroom recipe from Tasting Table creator Miriam Hahn. It'll add richness to the artichoke hearts and spinach, while the squeeze of lemon juice and paprika will brighten its heft with a tangy smoky finish. Hahn also developed an umami-rich sun-dried tomato and white bean stuffed mushroom recipe. You could likewise add half a cup of mascarpone into the filling mixture, roughly mashing the beans to make them extra creamy.