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You got a Mushroom kit for Christmas, Grew the Mushrooms, Now What?

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Baked Ricotta and Mushroom Appetizer

Vegetarian and Gluten Free (A Mom inspired recipe )

Last week I served some lasagna to my extended family. At the base was my Mom's original lasagna recipe, with some additions, including mushrooms, of course. She liked it so much she suggested I should publish the recipe on my blog. Rather than a large time-consuming lasagna recipe, I thought I would combine it with a recipe my mom cut out and sent to me from the October 25, 2014 issue of the Wall Street Journal "Broiled Ricotta Cheese With Brown-Butter Mushrooms" All of the Everything Mushroom kits provide enough mushrooms for the sauteed mushroom crown.

Ricotta Cheese Base:

16oz fresh whole milk ricotta

2 large eggs well beaten

1/4c grated parmigiana

1/4c grated mozzarella

1 garlic clove minced

1T parsley leaves finely chopped

1/4c sun dried tomatoes reconstituted and chopped

pinch of salt and pepper

Mushroom Topping:

Mushrooms (plucked straight from an Everything Mushrooms kit)

Butter

A few ramps or 1 shallot thinly sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. If ricotta is watery, drain in a colander lined with a clean linen towel or cheese cloth for a half hour or more.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F
  3. In a medium bowl whip eggs, salt and pepper with an electric mixer or whisk, add ricotta cheese and continue to whip until well mixed. 

  4. Fold in remainder of cheese base ingredients. 

  5. Transfer cheese mixture to an oiled baking dish. Ideally you want the cheese to be an inch or less thick to start off. Cheese base will puff as is bakes, so choose a dish that can accommodate another half inch for puffing and toppings. Pictured here is a 9-inch round dish. 

  6. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown on top; time will depend on how watery your ricotta is and the size of the dish.
  7. While baking, harvest mushrooms (pictured here is shiitake). However, any mushrooms will work. Cut into bite-size chunks. 

  8. Sauteé mushrooms on low in butter with salt and pepper. When mushrooms are nearing the end of cooking (most water has evaporated), add the sliced shallot or ramps and continue to cook until everything is nicely browned.  

  9. Top cheese base with sauteed mushrooms and serve with crusty bread slices, pita wedges or crackers. 

I intentionally left the amount of butter for the mushrooms up to you. In the original recipe it calls for a stick of butter, browned then mixed with a couple tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, to become a sauce. With the cheese, it was all a little too heavy for me. I just used a tablespoon of butter to brown the mushrooms. À chacun son goût ( to each his own )!

Thank you to Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quinonez Denton for inspiration for this recipe, and to Kitty Greenwald for writing the article. And a special Thanks to Mom for all your encouragement!