Friday, January 29, 2010

Lasagna in a Mushroom

Some time back I got the idea to stuff some big mushrooms with cheese somehow, but never got around to trying it out. Then lately I have been wanting lasagna or some other baked pasta and somehow this dish was born.

My son and I went back and forth on what to call it, and finally settled on:

Lasagna in a Mushroom

For the Sauce

1 tsp Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Minced Onions
1 Clove Garlic, Minced or Pressed
8 Ounces Tomato Sauce
Pinch Each Salt and Pepper
1 tsp Dried Oregano
1/4 tsp Dried Thyme
1/4 tsp Dried Basil

Heat the oil in a small sauce pan over medium-low to medium heat. Add the minced onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and spices and cook and stir for about one minute. Stir in the tomato sauce, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the flavors come together, about 20 minutes.

For the Mushrooms

4 Portobella Mushrooms
2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Pinch Each Salt and Pepper

Preheat your oven to the highest broiler setting and place the top rack about 6 inches from the broiler

Remove the stems and gills from the mushrooms. Combine the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Brush over both sides of the mushrooms and set aside to marinate for about 10 minutes. Place the mushrooms 'gill'-side down on a baking sheet and broil until soft and beginning to brown on the edges, about 7-8 minutes. Remove from the oven and flip them over, 'gill'-side up.

For the Stuffing

1 Bunch Spinach, Leaves Only, Washed and Coarsely Chopped (Don't dry them, the water will help cook the spinach)
1 Cup Ricotta Cheese
1/4 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp Pepper
1 Tbsp Fresh Basil

Put the spinach leaves in a nonstick skillet over medium low heat, and cook until wilted and all of the moisture has evaporated, about 6 minutes or so. If you can't add the spinach all at once, add more as it wilts down. It will cook down quite a bit.

Combine the ricotta, parmesan, spinach, pepper, and basil in a small bowl.

Remaining Ingredients

4 Thin Slices Cheese, Fontina, Mozzarella, Muenster or other good melting cheese.
Chopped Fresh Basil for Garnish

To Complete the Dish

Lower the oven to 350

Spread 1/4 of the sauce in each mushroom. Top with 1/4 of the ricotta cheese mixture, and one thin slice of your melting cheese. Put the baking sheet back in the oven, and bake the mushrooms until heated through and the cheese has melted, 5-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and garnish with fresh basil. If your cheese is taking too long to melt (or you like it a bit browner), you can use the broiler to melt it, which should only take 1-2 minutes. Garnish with fresh basil.

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