When Casey from Kitchen PLAY asked if I wanted to join in the progressive dinner party hosted by The Mushroom Council I was game! I had the opportunity to learn all about mushrooms from the council a few weeks back during Eat, Write, Retreat. The Mushroom Council brought in a local mushroom farmer from Pennsylvania, To-Jo Mushrooms who explained to us the mushroom growing process. Mushrooms grow from spores, they like dark spaces and the level of heat and humidity must be controlled through their 11-week growing process.
I have a secret to tell you – I used to have a serious mushroom phobia. But something happened with my 30-something tastebuds and all of a sudden mushrooms didn’t taste so bad anymore! Bring on the mushrooms in my mac and cheese, topped on a burger or mixed into meatballs like these mushroom meatball parmigiana sliders!
To convert more people to the mushroom side the Mushroom Council is currently running a “Swap it or Top it” contest, which inspired my dish today. Instead of an all-beef meatball, half of the beef has been swapped out for crimini mushrooms (Fun Fact: Criminis are actually the same mushrooms as portabellas, just harvested at different times) I lightened up the sauce for summer with a sun-dried tomato pesto and kept things clean by stuffing the mozzarella inside the meatball. These meatball sliders are incredibly versatile: you can swap out the beef for turkey or even get outside and grill them!
I’d love to see you join me at the Mushroom Council twitter party on June 25th at 7pm EST. Let’s talk mushrooms and recipes! RSVP for the event and follow the hashtag #TrendToBlend
8oz crimini mushrooms or baby portabellas mushrooms
1 large shallot, finely minced
8oz ground beef
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4oz fresh mozzarella, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
For the pesto:
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not oil packed)
1/2 cup tightly packed fresh basil
1/4 cup unsalted walnuts
1 large garlic clove
1/4 cup grated parmigiana cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 slider rolls
additional basil to top
Either with your knife or using your food processor finely chop the mushrooms and shallot.
In a saute pan over medium heat, drizzle 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and cook the mushrooms until they are tender and any excess moisture has evaporated, seasoning halfway through with 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt (about 7 minutes).
In a medium bowl, mix together the ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs, 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Mix in the cooked mushrooms and separate into 8 portions.
Place a piece of mozzarella in the center of each meatball and gently form it around the cheese. The mushroom/meat mixture will be very wet.
Put the meatballs on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or the freezer for 10. The meatballs can be made up to one day ahead of time.
Heat your oven to 400 degrees F. and bake for 20 minutes.
While the meatballs are cooking, in the bowl of your food processor place the sun-dried tomatoes, basil, walnuts and garlic. Pulse until it forms the consistency of wet sand.
Add the parmigiana cheese and pulse 1-2 times to combine.
With the motor running, drizzle the olive oil from the top and finally mix in the black pepper.
To serve: Spread some of the pesto on the bottom of a slider bun, top with a meatball and spread a little more pesto on top of the meatball. Finish with a piece of fresh basil.