(NAPS) – Portabella mushrooms, those big-cap beauties that made their restaurant debut not too long ago, are now making their way to supermarkets and family dinner tables. With their rich flavor and meaty texture, grilled or broiled portabella caps can stand in for burgers or pizza “crusts”. Sliced and sauteed, they lend a special touch to pasta dishes, soups, stews and stir-fries.
Portabella mushrooms are sold either packaged or loose by the pound. Look for tan to brown mushrooms with rounded caps, ranging in size from three to six inches. Refrigerate portabellas in paper bags or wrap in paper towels-never in plastic bags. To clean the mushrooms, wipe with a damp paper towel or quickly rinse under cold water and pat dry. The stems are edible but need to be trimmed.
You can get to know portabella mushrooms better by making Peppery Portabella Pasta, a quick and delicious meal-in-a-bowl:
Peppery Portabella Pasta
- 1 pound portabella mushrooms
- 12 ounces fettuccine pasta (uncooked)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 can (15 ounces) crushed tomatoes in puree
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 8 ounces fresh asparagus or green beans, sliced diagonally in 1-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)
If using whole portabellas, remove stems, trim and thinly slice; halve and slice each cap. In a large saucepan, bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over high heat. Add mushrooms and garlic; cook and stir until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and black pepper; remove to a plate. To the skillet, add tomatoes, broth, red pepper and remaining 3/4 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, to blend flavors and thicken, about 5 minutes. Add asparagus and reserved portabellas; cover and cook until asparagus is barely tender, about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, cook pasta in boiling water until al dente; drain. Place pasta in a large serving bowl; top with mushroom mixture. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, if desired.
Yield: 4 to 6 portions.