Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

As a child, I didn’t like mushrooms – I found them too earthy. It wasn’t until I grew oyster mushrooms as part of a science fair project, that I came to appreciate their taste and texture. When I was a vegetarian, mushrooms (and eggplant) were staple items since most people didn’t know what else to feed me. Since Portobello mushrooms are hearty and meat-like, I spent many dinners eating grilled Portobellos, Portobello burgers and Portobello casserole.

As it turns out, three of the most common mushrooms sold in Western supermarkets are actually different varieties of the same mushroom (scientific name Agaricus bisporus). The button mushroom is a young, unopened form of the Crimini mushroom. If a Crimini is left to grow, in 2 or 3 days it will quadruple in size and become what we call a Portobello or Portobella. While the origin of the name ‘Portobello’ is not known, the mushroom is likely named after the road in London famous for selling antiques.

Like criminis and Portobellos, button mushrooms were traditionally brown in color. A chance white mutant discovered on a Pennsylvania mushroom farm became very popular with consumers, which is the origin of the ubiquitous white button mushroom.

There is a centuries-old tradition of collecting wild mushrooms for human consumption. Unfortunately, there are a number of poisonous varieties and no clear way to distinguish edible from inedible. Mushroom cultivation began in France when Olivier de Serres, a sixteenth century soil scientist, found that wild mushroom mycelium could be transplanted and cultivated. Due to pathogens, however, widespread cultivation did not occur until the creation of a sterile pure culture in 1893 by the Pasteur Institute.

This recipe is from my multi-talented friend Sarah.

Serves 4

4 portobello mushroom caps
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 ounces fresh spinach leaves
1 cup ricotta cheese or 7 ounces low-fat cream cheese
1/8 cup fresh parmesan, grated
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 chilli powder (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 egg, beaten (omit if using cream cheese)
8 tablespoons bread crumbs (can use non-gluten bread crumbs), seasoned with salt and pepper
1/4 cup mozzarella, shredded

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Using a paring knife, remove stems from all mushroom caps. Wipe down mushrooms with a wet cloth to remove all dirt. Do not wash or rinse mushrooms. Set aside.
3. In a medium skillet, heat oil and sauté garlic until fragrant. Add spinach and cook until shrunk down. Remove from heat.
4. In a small bowl, mix ricotta cheese or cream cheese and parmesan. Season to taste with garlic salt, dried basil, chilli powder, black pepper and salt. Mix well.
5. If using ricotta, mix in egg.
6. Add spinach to cheese mixture. Mound mixture into mushroom cap. Top with 2 tablespoons of bread crumbs per mushroom, followed by mozzarella cheese.
7. Bake in a cake tin or roasting pan for 15-20 minutes until the mozzarella has turned golden brown.
8. Cool for 5 minutes and serve warm.


Nickname unavailable said...

This looks delicious - I will have to try it one day for something special. I heard that the name Portobello came from some marketing guru's brilliant mind in the 80s - and that these oversized regular mushrooms had no commercial use until the rechristening. Then they started selling like gangbusters. I tried to look it up but there's not a lot out there - I specifically wanted to find out what the name of the adult "Crimini" was before Portobello to compare... alas, no more time for surfing. Looks very nice Aly, as do all your recipes! xox Cielia

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I have been looking for a good recipe for portobello mushrooms! abrazos, Roshni

Nir said...

I think the recipe is supposed to say to mix the spinach in with the ricotta. Also, I used half as much bread crumbs per mushroom. Each mushroom top was more than covered with only one tablespoon.

Anonymous said...

This recipe is wonderful! It's easy to make for those who aren't as savvy when it comes to cooking and it tastes great! By far one of the best stuffed portobello mushroom recipes I've come across! Thanks for sharing. :)

Cristina said...

This is a wonderful recipe! My friend introduced me to it at a potluck and I'm dying to make it yummy along side tossed greens on a lite fare nite. Awesome! Thanks Sarah!

Justin said...

Found this recipe and it looked delicious! So after much anticipation they were delicious!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the portabello recipe...I'm trying it for the vegetarians coming for dinner Christmas Day. Check out my blog if you get bored:'m not the world's best cook, but I love ART! Happy Holidays!

Becca said...

A wonderful recipe...I made it today for lunch. The best stuffed mushroom recipe I've come across as of yet! I've been looking through your other recipes and came across the Persian herb one. I will definitely make it this Nowruz. Khali Khoshmazast! Thank you for putting all these wonderful recipes up!

Anonymous said...

Great Vegetarian recipe and very filling. Definitely use the egg if you're using ricotta (which is the best cheese for this recipe imo). Topped it off with Panko and shredded italian cheese mixture. Took less than hour start to finish.

Anonymous said...

This was really really good! Super easy for a "Meatless Monday" dish and even the hubs ate it all.

Kerioki said...

Of the 1000s of recipes available on the web I picked this one- and am happy with the results! I used sour cream instead.

Anonymous said...

this was very good! i used cream cheese and panko

butcept said...

I did a search for "stuffed portobello mushrooms" and stumbled upon your site. I made these last night for my vegetarian 8 year old and me (wanna-be-vegetarian). This was so good! It's a keeper. I loved it. I'll have to keep an eye on your blog, now that you have validation. ;)

Sonia said...

I just tried these, and they are delicious!! I added a few thin tomato slices under the bread crumbs and cheese.

Anonymous said...

I made this for dinner for my meat-and- potato husband. We both loved it! My first time making portobello mushrooms! Oh so yummy

blackroseheart said...

I just wanted to say thank you for this recipe! I tried it tonight, and it was perfect, and extremely filling. :-)

Anonymous said...

I found this recipe a bit bland. Maybe it needed more garlic. I followed the recipe exactly, using ricotta cheese. I don't think I'll make it again.

Shauna B. said...

I love Portobellos, so I bought some - without a gameplan! I wanted to cook them today, so I typed in 'portobello mushroom recipe stuffed' to see if I could find a recipe that involved things I had around the house. I found your recipe and I'm SO glad! I had everything except for the bread crumbs and the Mozzarella.

I toasted an English Muffin, chopped it up to a consistency I liked and used it as the 'bread crumbs', then I used Feta in place of the Mozzarella! It was fantastic!

Thank you for sharing this recipe! :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing - this was absolutely delicious. I made a small change and added some sun-dried tomatos and a tiny bit of lemon zest - I think it added a really nice sweetness. Fantastic vegetarian dinner! :)