Side Dish

Creamy Spinach and Pancetta Stuffed Mushrooms

Large white mushrooms have a light earthy flavor and are perfect for stuffing because they have a nice cavity for the filling.
Crème fraîche is a thick, slightly sour cream with a tangy taste adding creamy rich texture. It is great in sauces, as it won’t curdle.
The basil chiffonade added a light freshness of spring.
You will need:
12 large white mushrooms, with stems finely diced
¼ medium onion, finely diced, about 3 ounces
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups spinach, roughly chopped
2 ounces pancetta, finely diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons crème fraîche
8 large basil leaves, chiffonade
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground pepper
½ cup chicken broth  
Start by preparing all your ingredients so all you need to do is toss them into the skillet when needed, as it will go very fast.
Finely dice ¼ of a medium onion and 2 ounces pancetta. Mince 2 cloves of garlic and roughly chop spinach so that you yield 4 cups. That should be around ½ bag of spinach.
Clean the large mushrooms by wiping them with a damp cloth as well as removing the stems from the mushrooms. Don’t discard the stems! We need them for the stuffing. Just cut off the dry ends of the stems and dice each stem finely. 
Find a deep dish that is large enough to hold the 12 mushroom caps. Grease the bottom of the dish well, making sure it’s all covered with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and place the mushrooms with the hollow side facing up. Season with ¼ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper and set aside.
Now, start preheating the oven to 500° Fahrenheit. By the time you are finished with the filling the oven should be ready.
Heat the skillet at medium high heat so it’s nice and toasty before adding 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Toss in the pancetta and sauté for 1 minute, then, toss in the onions for another minute. Add the minced garlic and the diced mushrooms stems for 4 minutes to the pancetta and onion mix. Pour another tablespoon of olive oil in the pan before adding the roughly chopped spinach. Sauté the spinach for 1½ minutes, then, add 2 tablespoons of crème Fraîche and 8 leaves of basil chiffonade, allowing for all the flavors to mingle together for a minute whilst blending the crème fraîche into the pan.
Spoon the filling into the individual mushrooms. But, before placing the dish with the mushrooms into the oven, pour ½ cup of chicken broth into the dish, for some moisture. Don’t pour any broth on top of the mushrooms because we don’t want a watery filling. Bake for 15 minutes and check on them at the 10 minute mark.  Use some of the mushroom infused broth, gently spooning it over the mushroom caps so that the edges at the top of the mushroom get a bit of moisture. When finished, serve as a side dish, or even an appetizer.
I served this as a side dish with my Herbed Lamb Chops. Voilà! Now go forth and enjoy! Serves 4.

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