After finally finishing off all the pots of leftover soup from Soup Night, which were much needed during a week when sit-down dinners were nonexistent, it was time for something different.  And by different I mostly mean a fresh, home cooked meal placed on a real plate, on a real dinner table.  I was happy to get into the kitchen and pull out my favorite knife.  Nate was happy to eat anything that didn’t consist mainly of liquid and microwaving.



The whole time I was prepping this recipe it kept sending me to the Olive Garden.  It must have been the combination of garlic and parmesan that brought this to mind, though I use this particular combination quite frequently.  Either way, I am happy to report that this dish does not end up tasting anything like the pre-fab meals that are served at the Olive Garden.  It was intensely flavorful and aromatic, infused with the sweetness of the sundried tomatoes and balsamic reduction, and the tanginess of the artichokes and goat cheese.


It’s the kind of dish that makes you realize vegetarianism is not the saddest plight to happen.  (Well, at least for the night.  Until you come across a recipe for cranberry-glazed, bacon-wrapped apricots.  Then you remember how glad you are that you aren’t vegetarian, that your husband isn’t vegetarian, and that no one in your immediate families is vegetarian.)



Stuffed Portobello with Balsamic Reduction

Adapted from  Originally adapted from Epicurious.

Makes 4 servings.



4 cups fresh spinach leaves

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup chopped sweet onion

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped

1/3 cup marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1/4 cup plus 6 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese

4-ounces soft fresh goat cheese, crumbled

1/4 cup unseasoned dry breadcrumbs salt and pepper, to taste

4-6 portobello mushroom caps

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1 sprig fresh thyme




Heat oil in heavy large skillet over high heat. Add onion; sauté until beginning to brown, stirring often, about 3 minutes.


Add spinach and stir until wilted.  Add garlic and stir 30 seconds. Chop and transfer to large bowl; cool to room temperature. Add spinach, 1/4 cup Parmesan, sundried tomato, artichoke, goat cheese, and breadcrumbs to onion mixture; toss to distribute evenly. Season filling to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover filling and let stand at room temperature.


To make balsamic reduction, combine vinegar and thyme sprig and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until reduced by half. Mixture should be thick and syrupy. Simmer longer if necessary. Set aside.


Preheat oven to 400°F. Transfer mushrooms to rimmed baking sheet, gill side up. Divide filling among mushrooms. Sprinkle remaining 6 tablespoons Parmesan cheese over and bake until heated through and cheese begins to brown, about 15 minutes.


Drizzle mushrooms with balsamic reduction and serve immediately.

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