Garlic Stuffed Mushrooms

Garlic and Italian food seem to go hand-in-hand….in America.

In Italy, it’s a different story. Garlic is one of the things that gets categorized as “pesante” (or heavy/difficult to digest), the concept I discussed in Parmigiano Reggiano Stuffed Onions Wrapped in Prosciutto di Parma. In fact, it’s even been the subject of a recent controversy about garlic-free restaurants in Italy.

Garlic is often used as an oil infusion when preparing a dish. The big pieces will be discarded before serving the dish. This is such a change from what I’m used to, which is garlic being showcased as part of the meal.

I am a proud Garlic Addict. It’s been 12 hours since my last garlic.

Inside Garlic

And it’s no wonder – I was born in the Garlic Capital of the World! I have a lot of fond memories of the Gilroy Garlic Festival, growing up, which happened the last weekend in July. It was a most anticipated event in a town that went without a movie theater for years. Of course, now Gilroy is a totally different city, and they have one of the largest groups of shopping outlets in all of California, with Super Walmart, Target, Costco, hundreds of outlet shops and many restaurants. This is a far cry from the Gilroy I knew growing up, where Chevy‘s opening was front page news.

The Garlic Festival has remained pretty consistent, though. You knew every Saturday afternoon of the festival, you would hear Sha-Boom play, it would be crazy hot and you’d probably get a sunburn, and when you were old enough, you could join the big crowds around the beer tents and your friend’s parents would let you have some of their contraband “festival punch.” Now, there’s such a hue and cry about local foods and supporting local farmers, and the one thing that I can say about the festival itself is that it definitely supports the community. Thousands of volunteer man-hours go into planning and executing it, and every year those groups get back something for their effort.

Every year that I helped in parking, collecting tickets at the gate, making cotton candy, defrosting squid, buttering garlic bread and chopping up vegetables had a great local group benefiting from my time. Now when I complain about having to pay to get in the years I can’t volunteer, I remind myselfthat it goes towards something bigger.

So when I found these enormous mushrooms last week, I knew I could experience a bit of the festival right here. I made one of my favorite things from the festival as an ode to my beginnings and to wonderful Garlic.

Stuffed Garlic Mushrooms

3 fresh sage leaves, chopped
3 T. butter
1/2c. chunky breadcrumbs
mushroom stalks
50g parmesan
1 head (roasted) garlic

Note: If you want to roast your garlic in the oven, try Elise’s detailed recipe. I cheated because I didn’t want the oven on more than necessary, and I used the microwave. There are a lot of discussions about this – I would warn you to keep a close eye on it and not use full power. My “sawed-off” garlic head only took about 2 minutes in the microwave, and I took it out halfway to baste it with the olive oil.

Making Garlic Stuffed Mushrooms

  1. Prepare the roasted garlic as desired and set aside, being careful that it doesn’t dry out. Brush the dirt off the mushrooms with a paper towel, and remove the stalks by grasping the head and gently rotating the stalk.
  2. Chop up the garlic and the mushroom stalks. Saute garlic in 1T. butter and add mushroom stalks. After partially cooked, add bread crumbs/chunks, and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add sage leaves and remaining butter and cook another 2-3 minutes. After the mixture cools, add small chunks of chopped parmigiano reggiano.
  3. Put mushroom heads in the oven (200C/400F) for 15 minutes to partially cook them with a sliver of butter. (note: you may need less if they aren’t as big as these ones). Fill them with the mixture and return to oven for another 10 minutes, or until browned on top.

Garlic Stuffed Mushrooms

What’s your take on garlic? Like it, love it, avoid it? What’s your favorite dish made with garlic?

Some other bloggers’ recipes to get your garlic fix!


  1. says

    I do love it. I have pulled back since getting into classic Italian cookery. Then I remember that garlic was supposed to be useful in controlling intestinal parasites in warm climates and I wonder, “Am I riddled with worms?” Not to worry, I am experiencing no weight loss that can’t be explained, nor any weight loss, come to that.

    Your house must have smelled like heaven! I remember Gilroy, so that was you, eh?

  2. says

    I’m completely with you on the love of garlic. In fact I don’t think I ever remember eating a dish and thinking there was too much garlic! This recipe sounds wonderful. I do think that mushrooms are on the the many things that taste wonderful with garlic. Thanks for including my zucchini recipe too, which was wonderfully garlicy. (Is garlicy even a word? If not, it should be.)

  3. says

    I read the link to the article about banning garlic in Italian restaurants and it confirmed my suspicions. It’s a vanity thing. Women in my family also feel the same way. They love the taste but add garlic with a light hand. Not way! I cook for taste! And garlic tastes good! Rome’s aversion to anything “peasant” is outrageous. Chefs around here have caught on to the “peasant is hip” idea. Go into an upper class restaurant and order pasta fagiole and you’ll see what I mean! So expensive. My grandmother cooked it when times were hard. It’s a family staple in my home because it tastes so good. And it has garlic!

  4. says

    I’m with everyone else…I love garlic! (I’m also from the Central Coast and love the smell of driving through Gilroy.) Having said that, I don’t like it when Italian restaurants in America think that by putting garlic on everything makes the dish automatically Italian. Garlic has its place; some dishes do not require it. Oh, and we can’t forget that garlic has so many nutritional properties for us like fighting viruses, lowing blood pressure and as Judith said, keeping away worms.

  5. Rose in Cali says

    Garlic rocks! It makes sense that you would end up moving to Italy, having grown up in Gilroy. I grew up in a small town that had an annual zucchini festival–maybe I’ll end up there, too? Spero così!

  6. says

    You know, I started cooking with less garlic about three years when I starting going to the gym every morning. The odor of garlic at 6:00 a.m. on the elliptical can be suffocating! I’m so afraid I’ll be one of those people breathing my garlic breath on everyone, that I actually cut way back. Unlike the guy in Sylvia’s article, I actually do use more shallots now. Though, I just made a pesto the other night with two plump garlic cloves which was divine. Not that the guy on the elliptical next to me the following morning would agree. Awesome post!

  7. Ms. Adventures in Italy says

    Some pretty divided camps here!

    I, like Judith, find that I’m using it quite a bit less than before cooking more “classic” Italian cuisine here, but when I do cook with it, I cook to show it off rather than accent the dish.

  8. MB Kitch says

    This entry brought back so many great memories — the Gilroy Garlic Festival (haven’t been back since 1989 but I think about it at the end of July every year!) and bella Italia . . . sigh . . . I’ve just found your blog, but will be checking in regularly for my fix of the Med life! For now, I’m going to have to include these luscious mushrooms on our “pupu (Hawaiian for appetizer) tray” for dinner on Friday. Aloha!

  9. BobiE says

    love garlic, use it in nearly every dish i prepare, live in mexico, keeps us healthy.when i can get nice mushrooms i will be trying this recipe. thanks, love your blog, will visit again!

  10. says

    This is a great simple recipe for stuffed mushrooms! Much simpler than my usual. I love how you use sage and roasted garlic here. Just delicious!

  11. Jerminal says

    Very attractive pictures and the recipe looks very tasty. I’ll try to make them this week – glad that I bought mushrooms yesterday!

    I wonder which camera and lens you are using to get such beautiful pictures.


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