Ina Garten's Fabulous Thanksgiving

By Ina Garten

When it comes to making Thanksgiving dinner, best-selling cookbook author Ina Garten believes in keeping it simple. "The most successful holiday events are the ones where the hostess is having a good time," says Garten. "If you're red in the face and ready to cry and can't figure out how to get everything on the table in time, then you're ruining your own party." In an exclusive excerpt from her new book, Barefoot Contessa: How Easy Is That?, Garten shares some of her delicious new Thanksgiving recipes, as well as tips for keeping your holiday (and everyday) entertaining stress-free.

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Sausage-Stuffed Mushrooms
Photo reprinted from the book Barefoot Contessa: How Easy is That? By Ina Garten, 2010 by Ina Garten

Sausage-Stuffed Mushrooms

When I'm making a turkey for Thanksgiving, I don't stuff it for two reasons. First, I prefer stuffing that's crunchy outside and moist inside rather than the soggy stuffing that comes out of the bird. Second, in order for the stuffing to be done, the turkey has to cook longer and it ends up being dry. My solution? I roast a turkey and make these mushrooms filled with sausage-and-bread stuffing to serve alongside.

16 extra-large white mushrooms, caps and stems separated
5 tbsp olive oil
2 1/2 tbsp Marsala wine or dry sherry
3/4 lb sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
6 scallions, white and green parts finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2/3 cup panko crumbs (Japanese bread crumbs)
5 oz mascarpone cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
2 1/2 tbsp minced flat-leaf parsley

1. Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Trim mushroom stems and finely chop; set aside. Place mushroom caps in a shallow bowl and toss with 3 tbsp oil and Marsala. Set aside.
2. Heat the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and crumble into small pieces; cook until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the mushroom stems and cook 3 minutes more. Stir in the scallions, garlic, salt, and pepper and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the panko crumbs and mascarpone and continue cooking until the mascarpone has melted and made the mixture creamy. Remove from heat, add the Parmesan and parsley and season to taste. Cool slightly.
3. Fill each mushroom cap generously with the sausage mixture. Arrange in a snug single layer in a large baking dish. Bake until the stuffing is browned and crusty, 50 minutes. Serves 6 to 8.

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