Ingredient SpotLight

Mushrooms are at home just about everywhere. These nifty ingredients add an earthy touch to every dish they grace and are equally at home in meals that are showcased for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Heck, I've even seen them used -- successfully, I might add -- in dessert!

So it's no wonder that as the weather turns cooler and many varieties of wild mushrooms come into season, I choose them to shine in this month's column.

Mushrooms are low in calories, have no cholesterol and are virtually free of fat and sodium. They also stand alone when it comes to some of the essential minerals and B-complex vitamins not easily found in produce. In addition, some contain substances that might prove to be useful in the treatment and prevention of serious diseases. For more information on mushrooms, check out The Mushroom Information Center. Now, it's time to cook!

Multi-Mushroom Pizza

This simple pizza gets its great flavor from three kinds of mushrooms and tangy gorgonzola cheese.
  • 4 oz. sliced shitake mushrooms
  • 4 oz. sliced button mushrooms
  • 4 oz. sliced portabella mushrooms
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 Tablespoons Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 4 oz. low-fat mozzarella, shredded
  • 1 prepared pizza crust (such as Boboli)
  • 4 oz. gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

Sauté the mushrooms and garlic in the olive oil until the mushrooms give up their water. Add the parsley and cook until the water is cooked off. Set aside.

Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the crust and spoon the mushrooms and parsley evenly over the crust. Spread the crumbled gorgonzola over the mushrooms.

Bake at 450°F for 8-10 minutes. Serve hot.

  • Yields: 2-3 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Stuffed Portabellas

Savory mushrooms stuffed with crab makes an elegant first course or light lunch.
  • 2 cans crabmeat (6 oz. each), drained
  • 1/2 cup seasoned dry breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoons hot pepper sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 4 portabella mushrooms, stems removed
  • 1 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

In a small bowl, combine the crabmeat, breadcrumbs, hot pepper sauce, garlic powder, milk, parsley, egg, salt and pepper. Stir the mixture to blend well. Set aside.

Wipe the tops of the mushrooms with a soft damp cloth or paper towel. Mound 1/4 of the mixture onto the inside of each mushroom cap.

Place the mushroom caps into a large frying pan. Pour the wine into the pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 12-15 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender.

Transfer the mushrooms to a baking sheet. Sprinkle them with the Parmesan cheese. Bake at 375°F for 15-18 minutes or until the Parmesan cheese is lightly browned. Serve immediately.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 40 minutes