King of Mushrooms
If you haven’t tried Portabella Mushrooms, now is is the time. Forget about the small, ordinary white and brown button mushrooms you find at your local grocery stores, they lack the flavor and character of the large Portabella. These “meaty” mushrooms taste earthy and give a texture to your dishes that you just can’t get from ordinary mushrooms that are often bland and just plain “boring.” Look for mushrooms that are firm and “heavy” for their size. You can find them at your local farmer’s market as well as your favorite supermarket. Here are two ways to use these special specimens in satisfying meatless dishes that won’t leave you thinking ‘Where’s the beef!’ Get out of your cooking rut and go meatless for one day this week.
Fresh Portabella Mushrooms
The preparation is similar to making beef stroganoff, where you brown the main ingredient first. In this case I’ve roasted the mushrooms, first removing the inside “gills” with the back of a spoon before continuing with the rest of the recipe.
Chef’s Tip: You can see that the inside of the mushroom is black; I’ve found, if the inside is not removed, your sauce will discolor once all of the ingredients have been mixed together. You want a nice creamy, slightly golden-colored sauce, not one speckled with black bits and dark brown in color- trust me on this: your finished dish will not look appealing on the plate.
There are just 4 easy steps. Roast the mushrooms, cook your pasta, make the sauce then combine your ingredients and serve. This is the one of the easiest recipes in my toolbox. Even better, you won’t even miss the meat. If you’re vegetarian, omit using the beef broth and use 100% mushroom broth or vegetable stock instead.
5 Portabella Mushrooms, stems removed and inside hollowed out with the back of a spoon
2 Tablespoons olive oil
12 oz extra-wide pappardelle noodles, homemade pasta is preferred, cooked in beef broth and mushroom broth instead of plain water for additional flavor
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 bunch of green onions, sliced and separated- white part for sauce/ green tops for garnish
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2, 32-oz boxes of low-sodium beef broth
1, 32-oz box of mushroom broth, I prefer Pacific Brand
4 Tablespoons of dry sherry OR white wine – Optional
4 oz sour cream
4 oz fresh goat cheese, with herbs if available in your store
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, for garnish
Salt & pepper to taste
Roast the mushrooms:
Coat the whole mushrooms (inside and stems removed) with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil and salt & pepper to taste. Place top down on a cookie sheet or other oven-proof pan and Roast in a 400 degree oven until tender, about 20-25 minutes; Remove from the oven once the juices have been released and let cool. Slice and set aside.
Cook the Pasta:
Cooked Herb Pasta: see earlier post for my recipe
Measure 8 ounces of beef broth and 8 ounces of mushroom broth in a bowl or measuring cup and set aside for your sauce.
Use the remaining broths plus enough plain water to fill your pot for your cooked pasta, if desired. If not, use 4 quarts of plain tap water with 1 teaspoon of salt to cook the pasta. Bring to a boil in large heavy duty pot. Cook your pasta according to the package directions for dry pasta or just 3 or 4 minutes, until “al dente,” if using fresh pasta. Drain pasta aside and set aside, but save additional cooking liquid to thin out your sauce, should you need additional liquid later.
Make the Sauce:
Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the cooked, sliced mushrooms. Add the flour to coat and cook 1 to 2 minutes until slightly browned. Add the white part of the green onions. Add your broth mixture to deglaze the pan. Bring to a simmer, add the sherry or white wine now, if using. Add the sour cream and goat cheese, mixing well, and adjust the heat to low.
Combine and Serve:
Once the sauce is a nice smooth consistency, add the pasta to the skillet until thoroughly combined. The pasta will probably soak up some of the sauce so add reserved broth, as needed, a few tablespoons at a time, until the desired consistency is reached. Adjust seasonings: add salt & pepper to taste. Heat through.
Serve in bowls and garnish with fresh parsley, and the tops of the green onions.
Note: This recipe makes 6 to 8 servings. Any leftovers can be successfully frozen for another meal. Ours was so good, we didn’t have enough for a finished picture!
Baked Portabella Mushrooms with Marinara Sauce & Melted Cheese
4 Portabella Mushrooms, stems removed and inside hollowed out with the back of a spoon
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
12 ounces Marinara Sauce, your favorite brand OR homemade
4 ounces grated Parmesan Cheese, not powdered
8 ounces shredded Mexican Oaxaca Cheese
Use the same method as listed above for roasting the mushrooms. Remove from the oven and top with 2 to 3 Tablespoons of marina sauce. The amount you use will depend on the size of the mushrooms after cooking. Add a generous handful of shredded cheese to each mushroom cap. I prefer mine extra-cheesy and use two types of cheese. Add the mushrooms back in the oven for an additional 20-25 minutes, until the cheeses are completely melted and starting to brown. Serve with crusty French Bread and a salad or some steamed vegetables, like Italian Broccoli, shown in the picture and enjoy. Serves 4.
If you can’t find the type of Mexican cheese listed (I used Queso Salazar), substitute any good melting cheese like, Fontina or Monterey Jack. If you want to add some meat to the party (although you won’t miss it), add 1/2 pound cooked ground beef or chicken to your favorite marinara sauce before topping your mushrooms for final baking.