I was going to name this post ‘mid-week mushrooms’ in an attempt to capture the way this meal is more of an assembly of bits and bobs in the fridge than actually cooking, until I realised that we had actually eaten this on a Monday. Oh well, I guess that illustrates that the dilemma of what to do with yummy left-over bits in the kitchen can strike at any time: in our case, we’d had cannelloni last week and I’d bought too much ricotta, and I also found a less-than-meal-sized amount of frozen pesto that we’d made a while back.

And so, without much further ado, here’s the recipe for a way to marry ricotta and pesto into a tasty mushroom topping that – whether it is Monday or mid-week – is straightforward to prepare and will be on your dinner table in a jiffy.

I’ve always been very loose with the quantities for this recipe so I apologise for the approximations that follow: it does seem to depend on the size of the mushrooms, how much pesto you dare lather on, and the type of ricotta you have on hand. I hope though that the recipe gives enough of an indication of the idea of this meal, and that you are inspired to give it a try.

field mushrooms with pesto and ricotta

4 field mushrooms, stems removed
4 heaped tbsp pesto (we used our homemade basil one, but I think any would do)
up to 8 tbsp fresh ricotta (this was the better part of a 250g tub)
1/3 cup wholemeal breadcrumbs
1/3 cup grated parmesan
olive oil spray

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Place the mushrooms on a foiled baking tray, gills facing up. Spread 1 tbsp of pesto onto each mushroom, pressing into the dark gills and onto the stump of the stem. Then spread 1-2 tbsp ricotta over the pesto.

In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and parmesan, and some salt and black pepper. Sprinkle the parmesan mixture over the ricotta layer. Give each mushroom a couple of squirts of the olive oil spray.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the mushrooms are just tender. (We slightly overcooked ours this time so the mushroom juices started leaking out onto the crispy breadcrumbs – ideally the mushrooms should be removed before this happens, but it’s no big drama.)

Top with rocket to serve.

Yield: serves 2

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