A grilled portabella entrée, stuffed with
bacon, onions, potatoes, cheese and
prosciutto. Photo courtesy
For a meaty vegetarian entrée, stuff a grilled portabella mushroom, a large, “meaty” mushroom. The stuffing can be simple, from breadcrumbs to cheese to salad. It can be vegetarian or vegan.
Or, you can add ground meat to your filling.
Stuffed portabella mushrooms provide the opportunity for complex layering of flavors, as in the recipe below for Grilled Portabella Mushrooms Stuffed with Bacon And Caramelized Onion Purée, Mashed Potatoes, Wisconsin Fontina Cheese, And Sliced Italian Prosciutto.
The recipe, by Chefs Michael Smith and Debbie Gold, is courtesy EatWisconsinCheese.com. While there are several steps, they are easy ones (caramelize the onions, mash the potatoes).
The recipe is below, but first:
> The different types of mushrooms.
How can one mushroom, Agaricus bisporus, be known by so many names? All three spellings are used; we prefer portabella, which flows off the tongue most easily.
Portabellas are mature cremini mushrooms, tan to brown in color. The immature cremini is variously called a baby portobello, baby bella, brown mushroom, crimini, Italian mushroom, mini bella, portabellini, Roman mushroom, Italian mushroom, or brown mushroom.
Portabellas are meaty in both taste and appearance, with more complex flavors than the young creminis. They can be 3 to 10 inches in diameter; the large portabellas can be grilled or stuffed as an entrée.
Like meat, portabellas release juices when cooked. Vegetarians enjoy them grilled in lieu of beef, and they make wonderful grilled vegetable sandwiches. They can be served whole or sliced, stuffed, or as “burgers.”
For a simple starter, serve sliced grilled portabellas drizzled with a balsamic reduction. They are available fresh from December to March and cultivated year-round.
RECIPE: GRILLED STUFFED PORTABELLA MUSHROOMS
This recipe is made with “baby bellas,” three-inch diameter portabellas, and can be served in appetizer portions. But you can use larger portabellas for an entrée.
Ingredients For The Bacon Purée
For The Mashed Potatoes
 For a simpler preparation or a first course, try this recipe: Portabella stuffed with goat cheese and herbed mesclun (photo © Pom Wonderful).
1. MAKE the bacon purée: In a large heavy skillet, combine bacon and onions. Cook over medium heat until onions are very soft and dark brown. While hot, purée in a food processor. Set aside and keep warm. You will need 1 cup purée for this recipe.
2. MAKE the mashed potatoes: Boil potatoes in salted water until tender. Meanwhile, scald heavy cream. Drain and rice potatoes in a food mill. Transfer potatoes to a large bowl, add cream, and stir vigorously. Add butter, continuing to stir potatoes. Stir in olive oil. Adjust seasoning with salt and white pepper. Set aside and keep warm. You will need 3 cups for this recipe.
3. GRILL the mushrooms: Prepare a hot grill. Remove stems and gills from mushrooms. Brush mushrooms with olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Grill 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from grill.
4. STUFF the mushrooms: Fill mushrooms with bacon purée. Spoon a good size dollop of mashed potatoes over the bacon. Top with a slice of cheese and a slice of prosciutto, pleated to fit. Place mushrooms on the cooler part of the grill until cheese is melted and gooey. While mushrooms are warming, season radicchio with salt and pepper. Grill both sides until slightly wilted and starting to turn brown.
5. DRESS the salad: In a medium bowl, toss grilled radicchio, arugula, olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic. Divide onto four plates. Top each with a stuffed mushroom. Serve immediately.