This poor food blog is so neglected you may be wondering, does she even care about us anymore? Does she even care about food?
The answer is yes, and yes. But if you haven’t heard yet, I’ve been distracted by a certain book release next month and some other news that I will share soon! We also went north for New Hampshire’s February break to go skiing and I forgot my laptop. Turns out the break was really needed – I’ve been glued to it and it was nice to take a real break, and to connect with family and friends in the flesh after we’ve been hibernating all winter.
Since the last time we’ve chatted, Lent snuck up on us, as it always does (except for the Mardi Gras part, which totally gets our attention because hello, party). The one thing I do every Lent that I usually stick with 100% is giving up meat on Friday. Because of this, I thought I would come up with a few recipes that use meatless ingredients but still feel like a meal. Today I am giving you my favorite new recipe: Creamy Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms.
I love portabella mushrooms. In the summer, I soak them in some balsamic, olive oil, s&p and diced garlic clove in a zip lock bag, and then grill them. Inside two hamburger buns, with some blue cheese or lettuce and tomato, you hardly even notice you don’t have meat in your meal.
But this recipe – I’ve made it a few times, and every time I love it more. You know how good stuffed mushrooms are as hors d’oeuvres? Well, imagine sitting down with a knife and fork to a plate of these all your own.
You start by roasting the portabellas with garlic, salt and pepper. Then you start make the filling by sautéing smaller mushrooms with garlic and butter.
You add these dairy beauties:
The ideas is to create a thick creamy sauce, and ricotta does that in a jiffy, along with the melted fontina. You can use milk to thin it out but the cream (I have made it with half and half but this time I had whipping cream) is what gives this dish its decadence, I think. If you don’t have ricotta, you can easily make a sauce starting with a roux, which is roughly whisking 2 T. butter + 2 T. flour for a few minutes, then mixing in 2 cups of milk, plus the cheese but it takes longer and I think the flavor is much better with the ricotta. Also this sauce would be amazing mixed with some pasta for another meal idea.
Then, you add the remaining cheese and broil it until the cheese is browned, about 5-7 minutes.
Creamy Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms (printer version here):
Creamy Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms:
4 Mushroom Caps
2 T. olive oil
2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 T. butter
½ t. tarragon
2 cloves diced garlic, divided
½ cup ricotta cheese
¼ cream or half and half (or milk)
1 cup grated fontina, gruyere, or monterey jack (good melting cheese), divided
2 sprigs of thyme (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place Portabella caps on cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, 1 t. salt and ¼ t. pepper and 1 diced garlic clove. Roast in oven for 20 minutes.
While those cook, heat large frying pan on medium high heat. Add butter and melt. Add mushrooms, garlic and ½ t. salt, ¼ t. Pepper, being careful not to crowd pan or they will steam – use two pans if needed. Saute until fragrant and soft, about 10 minutes.
Add ricotta, cream, and ½ cup shredded cheese, and stir until combined and cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.
Take mushroom caps out of oven and let cool for 1 minute.
Add creamy mixture to mushroom caps, then cover with remaining ½ cup cheese and a few thyme leaves. Broil for 3-5 minutes or until cheese is browned to preferrence. (I love the cheese when it is very cooked).
(Serve with pasta or wild rice and peas.)