Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ricotta Filled Portabello Mushrooms Baked with Meat Sauce

I just realized that I haven't written a post in over a month. Where does the time go? It beats me, but that's no excuse. I've been cooking up a storm, just not putting it down on paper or the internet. This low carb recipe was inspired by Bonnie from Just A Pinch and it's a must try. I made it last night and it's reminiscent of lasagna without the noodles. Bonnie made her cottage cheese filled mushrooms using Tex-Mex accompaniments. I felt adventurous and took the Italian route, substituting ricotta and a simple tomato based meat sauce (Paul Newman's Tomato Basil), one onion and some ground sirloin. Simple, and simply delicious.

Baked Ricotta Filled Portabello Mushrooms
serves 2

1/2- 3/4 lb ground sirloin or any ground meat you'd use in a tomato sauce- I think a spicy ground turkey sausage would be put this over the top
1 T olive oil
1 onion chopped
Salt and pepper
1 jar tomato sauce
1 tsp ground red pepper flakes
4 Portabella mushroom caps, wiped clean with gills removed
Cooking spray
8 oz low fat ricotta cheese
1 handful of low fat mozzarella cheeze shredded
1 tsp dried basil, fresh would be great if you have it- use about 1 T of fresh
1 large egg
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Another handful of mozarella for topping the mushrooms

Okay, let's cook. In medium size skillet on stove top set at medium/low heat, add olive oil and chopped onion.  Cook a few minutes and add the ground meat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook until meat is no longer pink. Drain any fat from skillet and add your tomato sauce. Simmer about 5 minutes to let the flavors blend. Take off the heat, set aside and pre heat your oven to 425 degrees.

Now its time to tackle the mushrooms. Clean the tops with a damp sponge to remove any dirt. Most mushrooms these days are farm raised and don't need much cleaning. Now check out the underside and remove the stem and gills. I use a spoon to do this.

Line a baking sheet with foil that has been sprayed with cooking spray and place cleaned mushrooms top side up, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake 7 minutes. Flip the shrooms over and bake another 7 minutes.

While mushrooms are cooking, make the ricotta mixture. Combine ricotta, basil, mozarella, egg, and parmesan.

Remove mushrooms from the oven and reduce oven temp to 350 degrees. Now it's assembly time. In medium sized baking dish (I used a glass 8"x8") place some meat sauce on the bottom. Place mushroom caps (gill-less sides facing up) and add a tablespoon or two of meat sauce into each. Top with ricotta mixture.

Add a few more tablespoons of the meat sauce to the top of the ricotta, cover with remaining mushroom caps (gill-less sides down), and spoon meat sauce over the caps. I didn't use all my sauce, but you certainly can do that. Now add some more mozarella cheese on top and bake 20 minutes. Dinner is ready! All I can say is yummmm. Serve with a green salad and if you're not counting carbs, a crusty wedge of Italian bread.  

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