June 11, 2014
Gorgonzola & Port Macaroni & Cheese Stuffed Portabella Caps ♥ The Mushroom Council's "The Trend is to Blend" Recipe Redux Sponsored Contest
When the Recipe Redux joined with The Mushroom Council's "The Trend is to Blend" promotion, they asked us to show our love of mushrooms by sharing recipes that blend diced, chopped or minced mushrooms in place of some portion of meat or other lean protein using the "blendability technique" to make a healthier dish OR swap out all of the meat protein in a recipe to make a vegetarian dish featuring fresh mushrooms, I knew it was time to showcase this mushroom/pasta blended recipe. Mushrooms are low in calories, fat-free, cholesterol-free, gluten-free, and very low in sodium, yet they provide important nutrients, including selenium, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin D and more. For an excellent source of all things mushrooms, you should visit this site.
"By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by The Mushroom Council and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time."
I was standing in front of the mushroom section of my market, trying to determine how many packages I wanted and of which kind, when I saw the Portabella caps. I grabbed a package, then I grabbed two. I entertained a thought about stuffing but not a new thing in the mushroom arena, that is, unless I was to stuff them with something completely off the grid, like a macaroni and cheese but not just any macaroni and cheese, I wanted one cooked in port and baked with Gorgonzola. Think about it, what goes better with mushrooms than a fortified wine and what goes better with a fortified wine, than a blue cheese? Yes, I had it.......I would blend all those flavors into one dish.
Completely genius (well, this house thought it was but you be the judge). It was also the best macaroni and cheese that I have eaten in a long time. Not a weepy, cheesy, goopy macaroni and cheese, it was just enough of everything and not too much of anything. This was "grown-up" macaroni & cheese.
The best part? you can eat the macaroni and cheese and the porta"bowl"a (sorry, The Nudge insisted I put his 2 cents in).
In this dish, the macaroni and cheese would not have tasted as good without the mushroom. They just compliment each other completely.
Totally versatile, the macaroni and cheese can be cooked up to a week ahead of time and then baked in the caps right before serving, or you could bake them off and store them up to a few days before reheating the day of serving. I made these 4 days in advance while The Nudge was traveling and heated them for dinner last night.
A wonderfully easy dish for a dinner party or, use Baby Bellas and have a cocktail party.
People will be talking about these for years.
Gorgonzola & Port Macaroni Stuffed Portabellas
Servings: 4 large Portabellas
* 4 Portabella caps, cleaned, stemmed and gills removed
* 1 cup dried Acini de Pepe or any small soup pasta
* 1 cup Tawny Port, divided (1/2, 1/4, 1/4)
* 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil + more for brushing the mushrooms
* 1 shallot, minced
* 1 tablespoon flour
* 1/2 cup low-fat milk
* 1/2 cup chicken broth
* 2 ounces wedge Gorgonzola cheese (not crumbles), divided (3/4, 1/4)
* 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
* 1 teaspoon honey
* 2 tablespoons dried bread crumbs
* 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
* 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Pour the oil into a saucepan. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are transparent. Pour 1/2 cup of the Port into the pan and which slowly; add the milk and the broth, whisking after each addition, till it is smooth. Gently simmer for three minutes. Stir in three quarters of the cheese along with the mustard, honey and the pepper. Continue stirring until the cheese has melted.
2. Meanwhile, cook the macaroni in remaining 1/4 cup Port and 2 cups of water. Add the salt and cook until the pasta is almost done but still chewy, about 5 minutes. Drain the pasta, saving the water for the baking pan; add pasta to the sauce; reserve.
3. Place the cleaned Portabella caps in a baking dish. Spoon a tablespoon of Port into each cap. When the wine is absorbed into the mushrooms, brush with the olive oil and season with salt.
4. Spoon 1/4 of the macaroni and cheese mixture into each cap and sprinkle each with 2 teaspoons of crumbs. Top the crumbs with 1/4 of the remaining Gorgonzola cheese. Top each with 1 pat of butter.
(At this point the caps can be wrapped and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.)
5. Pour about 1/4 cup reserved pasta water into the bottom of the baking dish, cover with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the tops are bubbling and crisp.
Think you have a great blended mushroom creation? The Mushroom Council is running a contest on their Facebook page. Just visit them for the entry form to submit your recipe for their Swap It or Top It Contest and good luck!!