Imagine the faint gurgle of Pino Grigio trickling into your glass. Feel the warmth of the setting sun lightly caress the back of your neck. Take a big whiff of that sea air. OK, now you're in the right state of mind to continue on...
Caprese just means 'in the style of Capri', and it usually refers to that wonderful salad of sliced tomato, basil and fresh mozzarella. But the Caprese combination of flavors can be used on bruschetta, pizza, pasta, grilled fish...the possibilities are endless.
Portobello mushrooms are just the mature examples of the everyday button mushroom. Normally I think of stuffed portobellos as earthy, cold weather food, piled high with a concoction that would be equally at home up the wrong end of a Thanksgiving turkey. This version is so much more my style.
The amounts here are approximate...I just happened to have three portobello mushrooms so I used one medium large tomato, but depending on how many mushrooms you have and what size they are, you may need a little more tomato and mozzerella for the filling.
Portobello Mushroom Caprese
oven to 375
3 portobello mushrooms, stems removed and dusted clean
1 large tomato
6 or 7 large basil leaves
a dash of sherry vinegar (optional)
1/2 ball of fresh mozzerella
salt and pepper
- Brush the outside of the mushrooms with a little olive oil, turn over and drizzle more oil on the inside, and sprinkle with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Bake for 10 minutes.
- Finely dice the tomato and put in a small bowl.
- Layer the basil leaves into a pile, roll up from the side, like tobacco, and finely slice the roll into little ribbons. Add to the tomatoes. Season well with salt and pepper and add the vinegar if you're using it.
- Slice the mozzerella thinly.
- Using a slotted spoon to drain off the excess juice, spoon some of the tomatoes onto each of the caps, and drizzle with a little oil.
- Top each mushroom with slices of mozzerella.
- Bake for a further 10 minutes, and put under the broiler briefly at the end to brown the cheese.
You can turn this into a vegetarian meal by serving these with grains and a salad. We ate it as a side with broiled fish. The gooey crust of mozzerella, fresh juicy tomatoes and the meaty portobello is a winning combination.
PS I just had the last piece of frozen Lasagna Arrabbiata that I made in back in February and I have to say, boy, did that freeze well. That was one of the best investments of time in a recipe ever. Even though the fresh pasta sheets were frozen when I got them, they held up fine. And I thought I read somewhere that fresh ricotta doesn't freeze well, but again, it was fine. Both the ricotta and mozzerella tasted just like the day it was made. It retained its spicy heat, too.
The key for us was freezing it in little lunch sized packets. I cut large squares, wrapped them in foil, then put the foil in a zip lock baggie and labeled them. The label catches your eye when you're rummaging through the freezer. Have you seen the prices of those specialty frozen meals like Amy's and Michael Angelo's? Sheesh.