Mushrooms stuffed with Israeli couscous and goat cheese
If you love big, meaty mushrooms, try these stuffed Portobellos.
Since having become famous in the foodie world, this pearly short-cut pasta is called Israeli couscous. As long as I have a bag of it in my pantry, I’m sure of having a quick-cooking backup to heft out a meal that would otherwise look skimpy.
But that’s not all Israeli couscous does. It’s pleasantly bland, so it soaks up any flavorings you add to it or cook it with. You can dress it up or dress it down, like any other pasta. Kids love it, naturally. But here it is in an entirely grown-up guise: stuffing for Portobello mushrooms. It’s still a quick trick. Takes about 10 minutes to cook the couscous, including the time it takes to chop up an onion and the cheese. Two minutes to mix the stuffing up. And about 15 minutes in a hot oven.
One mushroom makes a hefty first course, and two make a light main dish, served with a big salad.
Have plenty of olive oil on hand when you make these: it’s amazing how much oil mushrooms can soak up.
- 6 large Portobello mushrooms
- Olive oil
- 1 cup dry Israeli couscous
- 1 medium onion
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Fresh-ground pepper to taste
- 1 1/4 cup boiling water
- 1/2 cup diced feta goat cheese
- 4 tablespoons chopped, fresh basil leaves
- 1 large tomato, cut into 6 slices (or two medium tomatoes sliced into thirds)
Preheat oven to 390° F (200° C).
Chop onion finely.
Fry onions over medium heat in a skillet with 3 tablespoons olive oil, until they wilt – about 3 minutes.
Add the dry couscous and fry until it’s golden, about 4 minutes. Stir once or twice.
Add salt and pepper.
Add boiling water, stir and cover with the lid partly off. Cook 6 minutes. Cover skillet and let the couscous sit while you make the filling.
With a spoon, carefully dig out around the mushrooms stems and extract them, with part of the inside flesh, to make a shell. Careful not to dig a hole through the caps. Brush the mushrooms with olive oil, inside and out. Don’t forget to oil the edges.
Chop mushrooms stems finely and place in a large bowl. Add the chopped feta and basil. Tip the couscous into the bowl and gently mix.
Taste a spoonful of the mix to judge seasoning.
Fill the mushroom caps – mound the filling up. It will shrink some in baking.
Lay a tomato slice over each mushroom and salt it lightly. Dribble a little olive oil over each tomato slice.
Bake, uncovered, 15 minutes. The mushrooms should be tender. Serve hot.