Looking for an appetizer that is pretty easy to make and sure to be a crowd pleaser? Try this Maggiano’s Style Spinach Stuffed Mushroom.
While I was in undergrad (WAY back in the day!), in between semesters, I worked as a food runner at a Maggiano’s in Jacksonville, FL, when I’d go back home for break. While I spent countless hours in the kitchen, I enjoyed paying attention to what the cooks were doing in back.
Needless to say, I picked up a few recipes while I was there. The stuffed mushrooms were one of my faves, and making these gives me a little flashback to those carefree college years…
Stuffed mushrooms always seem a little fancy too, so I thought it would be a good recipe to share with all the upcoming holidays. Here’s my version of their app. Also, keep reading for a funny story about a little mishap that happened while I worked there!
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What kind of jobs did you have growing up? While I was growing up (since the age of fifteen) I had several jobs in the restaurant industry. My first jobs were working as a server in retirement homes (yep, I’m a FL girl), and later I graduated to serving at a few actual restaurants.
I gravitated towards restaurants because it was relatively easy to get hired right away and also the shifts were very flexible as a student and an athlete. Okay, so the tips weren’t so bad either at the nice restaurants too…
Working as a server was great for learning all about customer service. And in general, it is also provides a leaning opportunity in how to deal with all different kinds of people. And believe me… From the retirement homes, to higher end restaurants… From the customers to all the different kinds of staff, I have dealt with all kinds! Definitely recommend it as a great way for young people to do some character building.
Anyway, during my time at Maggiano’s one of the biggest memories I have is a particularly embarrassing story from when I first started out there… If you have never eaten at a Maggiano’s before, it is a big, “family style,” Italian restaurant where you’re often seating and serving large tables of people.
First of all, they wouldn’t hire me as a server because I was only available in between semesters at the University of Florida. Regardless, I was happy to take the job as a food runner.
And as a food runner, who helped bring food to these large tables of people, it was required to carry out several plates at a time. And these aren’t just regular dinner plates. They’re large, family style plates filled with several servings of food, plus all the garnishes, and often some extra sauce, or juice to boot.
You might see where I’m going with this now, but I was running some food out to a table of ten or twelve. I can’t remember if I had two, or three large plates on my left arm, but although I thought of myself as quite athletic and strong, my time spent at the gym did not train me for holding a ton of heavy dishes of food with my arms sticking straight out.
Did I mention that there were a couple of us bringing the food out at the same time too? And the server started taking plates from the other guy first. So I was standing there waiting. And waiting. And getting a little shaky, but I thought I was doing alright. And all of a sudden a lady in a crisp, white blouse started screaming, and freaking out because I was dripping some of the hot juice from the chicken piccata all down the back of her neck!
I was so embarrassed and mortified. I could not apologize to that poor lady enough! Luckily the sauce wasn’t too hot, and she didn’t get burned, or anything. And I definitely made sure that the table had some of their food comped to make up for my little accident.
Anyway, I bring that story up because these mushrooms can get a little juicy, but hopefully you won’t have the same problem I did while serving your guests.
Here is the recipe:
Maggiano’s Style Stuffed Mushrooms
- Baking Pan
- Parchment Paper
- Sauté pan, cutting board, knives, etc.
- 12 Large Portobello Mushrooms (2 small packs of regular sized mushrooms)
- 6 Cups Fresh Spinach
- 1/2 LB (1 stick) Butter, Softened
- 1 Cup Extra Sharp White Cheddar (or Fontina/cheese of your choice)
- 1 1/2 Cup Japanese style bread crumbs
- 1/2 Tsp Pink Himalayan Salt
- 1/4 Tsp Black Pepper
- 1/4 Tsp Granulated Garlic
- 1/4 Tsp Dried Oregano
- 1 TBSP Chopped Fresh Basil
- 1 TBSP Chopped Fresh Parsley
- 1 Tsp Minced Garlic
- Olive Oil
- Smoked Paprika (sprinkled on top)
- Pre wash produce with your vegetable cleaner of choice.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Remove stems from mushrooms, and place in mixing bowl. Toss with about 1 oz. of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Roast mushrooms in oven for about 15 minutes, stem side facing up. Remove, cool slightly, and turn mushrooms over to allow juice to drain.
- Meanwhile, Sauté garlic & olive oil in pan. Add spinach, salt, & pepper, and cook down until tender. Remove from heat, drain any remaining juice and cool.
- Chop up your cooked spinach with your food scissors (or use cutting board).
- In a medium/large mixing bowl add butter, salt & pepper, oregano, granulated garlic, basil, parsley, & bread crumbs. Mix together by hand until everything is well mixed.
- In a separate mixing bowl, add spinach & chees together, and mix.
- Place spinach mixture in mushroom, and top with the gratin-butter mix (pressed into little discs).
- Bake mushrooms in the oven for 15-20 minutes (until golden brown)
- Serve and enjoy!
My time spent in the food industry has definitely impacted my love for food and wine, and I wouldn’t change those past experiences for the world!
Need Some Wine With That?
With mushrooms you could go either way with a red, or white wine. I usually let the season and what else is on the menu help in deciding what wine to pair with my food. If it’s warmer out and I’m having something like salmon, or another kind of fish (or chicken piccata… pun intended) following the mushrooms, I’d go with a Chardonnay. If I’m having a red meat, or pasta dish after this appetizer, I’d go with a Pinot Noir.
If you’re looking to stock up your wine rack for the holidays, you must try ONE HOPE WINE and raise your glass while giving back this season. Every bottle of wine sold at One Hope gives back to local and global causes, and they have donated over $7.5 million to date! Did I mention that the wine is organic too? And clean, so you shouldn’t feel it the next morning if the holiday spirit gets to you.
And they have these amazing, sparkly bottles in case you have something big to celebrate as well.
Check out One Hope’s available discounts and wine club perks by clicking HERE. And CHEERS to making a difference!
And just in case you’re wondering, I may have broken a plate or two cleaning up the rest of the time I spent at Maggiano’s, but no accidents like that ever happened again!
I hope you enjoy this recipe and had a good laugh at my expense!