Last year I discovered that I love Portobello mushrooms. Okay, I don't know if I LOVE them, but I do enjoy them enough that I taught myself how to prepare them at home. People often say that Portobellos are the vegetarian equivalent of steak, but given that I'm not a vegetarian, I can't agree with that. I mean, how can you really say a giant mushroom is the same as a filet or rib eye, anyway??
But I digress. I like to have my cake and eat it, too, so I came up with a recipe that combined a protein and Portobellos: Turkey Portobello Pizzas. It was a hit with Bryan, so I continued to make it and refine it.
The best part about this recipe is that if you use your imagination, you can make any sort of "pizza" using the Portobello as the "crust." You can use turkey, beef, veal, chicken or even ground lamb. I'm sure it would be great with a simple tomato sauce, pepperoni and green bell peppers. You can use mozzarella, goat or even blue cheese. You see where I'm going with this; the "pizza" possibilities are endless.
Here's what I use to make the turkey version of the Portobello pizzas:
- 2 large Portobello mushrooms, de-stemmed and tops wiped clean
- 3/4 pound lean ground turkey
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, diced
- 3 asparagus stalks, ends removed and chopped
- 1 small tomato, seeded and chopped
- 3-5 basil leaves, chiffonade
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 cups of your favorite pasta/pizza sauce, we use Trader Joe's Pizza Sauce
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (1/4 cup for each "pizza")
- Parmesan cheese, shredded
- Olive oil for drizzling
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Heat a large skillet over a medium-high flame. (Tip: You can also do this on a grill, but ours is out of propane. Hence the pan!). Once the pan is hot, add the mushrooms, cap side up. If you need to weight the mushrooms down to make sure they heat hits them even, do so with a spatula for about 30 seconds each. Then let them cook for about 3-5 minutes. Flip them over and continue to cook for another 3 minutes, or until the juices are beginning to collect in the middle. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Give the pan a quick drizzle of olive oil and add the onions, garlic and asparagus. Saute for 2-4 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Add the turkey meat and stir until brown, breaking up any lumps.
Add the red pepper flakes, basil, chopped tomato and tomato sauce. Turn down the heat and simmer for a few minutes, letting the tomatoes break down and the tomato sauce incorporate into the meat mixture.
In a separate pan heated over a low flame, place the cooked Portobellos face-side up. Top with a generous heaping of the turkey mixture and 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese. Cover the pan and let warm through until the cheese is melted, about 2-3 minutes. Turn up the heat if necessary. Transfer the mushroom "pizza" to a plate, top with some grated Parmesan cheese and a few shreds of basil. You're done! Enjoy!