Mushroom Parmigiana

Introduction

If Aubergines are not your thing — here is a slightly different version from regular aubergine (eggplant) Parmigiana made with breakfast (portobello) mushrooms instead. It is also slightly healthier as you can cook the mushrooms in a little salt, and therefore very little oil.

The trick here is to pick large mushrooms and to cut them into thin slices — preferably pieces that are less than 5mm thick. 

STEP BY STEP

  1. Prepare the tomato sauce: crush 4 garlic cloves with the side of a knife and peel them. Fry them for about a minute in olive oil.
  2. Add the tinned tomatoes and red wine, and bring on to a boil on high heat, then straight back to a low heat and slow simmer.
  3. After about 5-10 minutes, mash the tomatoes with a potato masher, and cook for about an hour.
  4. While the sauce is cooking, slice the breakfast mushrooms into thin slices, less than 5mm thick. Either use a mandolin or a very sharp knife for this. Place into a colander and cover in a bit of salt. Leave to sit in the colander until the tomato sauce is ready. The salt gives the mushrooms a softer texture.
  5. After an hour, the tomato sauce will be ready. Season with salt and pepper, add the basil (optional) and blend until smooth.
  6. Preheat the oven to 180 C
  7. Cook the mushrooms: fry the slices in a small amount of olive oil. Once cooked, place the mushrooms in between paper towels so they dry thoroughly.
  8. Slice the mozzarella into thin slices
  9. Time to layer the ingredients in an ovenproof dish. Apply a small amount of tomato sauce at the bottom, add a handful of mushrooms — making sure they're only in one layer — then cover with a few slices of mozzarella, add grated parmesan on top, season with salt, pepper and mixed herbs (optional) and repeat until you use all of the ingredients. Try to not layer the mozzarella slices over each other if you can avoid it.
  10. Finish with a layer of tomato sauce
  11. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the dish, and cover with a small amount of grated parmesan.
  12. Place the dish uncovered in the oven for 30 minutes
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Ingredients

Serves 4.

  • 4 large breakfast (portobello) mushrooms
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 800g tinned tomatoes — or passatta for the mini-parmigiana version.
  • 200 mL red wine (I prefer a red Burgundy)
  • 250g whole Mozzarella (use buffalo Mozzarella if available)
  • 100g Parmesan, grated
  • basil (optional)
  • mixed herbs (optional)
  • salt & freshly ground pepper
  • olive oil

For the topping:

  • fine breadcrumbs
  • grated parmesan