Monday, February 7, 2011

Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms

I use portabella mushrooms on those days I want something "meaty" but I don't quite want meat. I suspect this would be ideal for meatless Mondays, particularly for those who resist the idea of a vegetarian dinner. I've noticed more meat lovers are embracing this new tradition, so I'd like to stress here that not only is vegetarian eating more economical, but it can also be flavorful. I'm never going to become a full-blow vegetarian (please don't get me started on this subject), but I do plan meatless meals three or four days a week.

This recipe also happens to be one in my arsenal that overlaps with staples I make huge batches of and freeze for all manner of meals. The ricotta and spinach mixture I use for lasagna and stuffed shells, and the marinara I use for a quick pasta dinner (which I made as a side dish here) or for pizza, etc. Versatile meal bases are important to me, and they keep me well within my budget.

Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms

4 large portobello mushroom caps
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup finely chopped fresh spinach
1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
2 tablespoons finely chopped kalamata olives
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
3/4 cup prepared marinara sauce

(from here)

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
2. Place mushroom caps, gill-side up, on the prepared pan. Sprinkle with salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Roast until tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, mash ricotta, spinach, 1/4 cup Parmesan, olives, Italian seasoning and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Place marinara sauce in a small bowl, cover and microwave on High until hot, 30 seconds to 1 1/2 minutes.
4. When the mushrooms are tender, carefully pour out any liquid accumulated in the caps. Return the caps to the pan gill-side up. Spread 1 tablespoon marinara into each cap; cover the remaining sauce to keep warm. Mound a generous 1/3 cup ricotta filling into each cap and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan. Bake until hot, about 10 minutes. Serve with the remaining marinara sauce.

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