For a very long time, until I was in my twenties,I used to love the taste that mushrooms gave to a sauce but hated chewing them.So I pushed them apart in my plate and happily ate the pasta with the flavorfulsauce.
Not many varieties abounded then, mostly dried pine mushrooms, whichwere not the ones to try if you wanted to fall in love with mushrooms. As ithappened a lot in the following years, I developed my taste buds and my list ofthings to try grew exponentially with my birthdays.
The amount of dried and fresh mushrooms I findnow is large and I learned to use a few and to pair them well with otheringredients. One of my favorite pasta dishes is tagliolini (thin spaghetti)with funghi porcini, olive oil, and parsley, an Italian dish that, when wellprepared, is something to write home about.
But that´s not what I´m making today. I wanted tocook something for my hosts during mylast trip. I had bought a most extraordinary cookbook and was having a hardtime deciding. This is a vegetarian book, and though I most certainly am notone, it´s fairly accurate to say that I may go through bouts of vegetarianismif I let my desire to cook every single recipe in that book take hold of me.
The portobellos I found were huge, each ameal in itself. Dark and earthy, here they are filled with sautéed vegetablesand sun dried tomatoes, lots of them, and then they are baked with taleggiocheese on top that melts gloriously and imparts a slight piquant, creamy coverto the final dish.
It´s no surprise I loved them so much, since this is amodernized version of my growing-up flavor memories of tomatoes and cheese.
Butdon´t think you´re in for your average tomato, cheese and mushroom mix. This is nothinglike that.
STUFFEDPORTOBELLO WITH MELTING TALEGGIO
from Plenty,by Yotam Ottolenghi
4 largeportobellos, stalks removed
6 Tbs olive oil
Salt and blackpepper
1 small onion,finely diced
1 celery stalk,finely diced
2 cups sun-driedtomatoes, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves,crushed
½ cup gratedParmesan cheese
1 Tbs choppedtarragon leaves
4 Tbs coarselyshredded basil leaves
4 oz (115g) Taleggio cheese, sliced
Preheat the ovento 350º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the mushrooms, stalkside up, on the baking sheet and drizzle over a little oil and some salt andpepper. Put into the oven and roast for about 15 minutes, or until themushrooms begin to soften.
Meanwhile, heatup 2 tablespoons of the oil in a sauté pan, add the onion and celery and cookon low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft but notbrown; stir every few minutes during cooking. Add the sun-dried tomatoes andgarlic and cook for a few more minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cooldown.
Once cool, addthe parmesan, tarragon and half the basil to the mixture and season with saltand pepper to taste. Careful because the Taleggio is salty.
Pile up thefilling on the whole mushrooms and top with the taleggio slices. (Return to theoven and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese melts and the mushroomsare tender.
Transfer toserving plates, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with the basil leaves.