Secondi Piatti: Meat, Fish, Eggs, Cheese Starters

Pizza-Flavoured Portobello Mushrooms

Portobello mushrooms, like all mushrooms, are very versatile. Stuffed, griddled, sautéed, au gratin or baked, they always inspire us with delicious new ideas. In this recipe they make for a scrumptious miniature alternative to traditional pizza.

Two different toppings based on the two most famous pizzas in the world: Marinara with addition of anchovies and the classic Margherita. These Portobello mushrooms make for an original secondo piatto or a starter at an informal lunch with friends.

Serves: 4 | Preparation time: 10 mins | Cooking time: 20 mins

  • Portobello mushrooms: 8
  • Mozzarella or smoked scamorza: 80 g
  • Canned anchovies: 3 to 4
  • Ham: about 3 slices
  • Garlic: 1 clove
  • Grated Parmesan: 4 tbsp
  • Fresh basil: about 4 leaves
  • Dried oregano: a handful
  • Capers: to taste
  • Tomato sauce: to taste
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: to taste
  • Salt and pepper: to taste


Preheat the oven to 180° C.

Clean the mushrooms thoroughly with either a mushroom brush or some damp kitchen paper, then remove the stems, making sure to leave the caps whole. Set stems aside.

Place the mushroom caps on a baking-tray, with the hollow side down on the baking paper. Brush them gently with oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 5 minutes, then leave to cool.

Finely chop the mushroom stems. Heat up 2 tbsp of EVOO in a non-stick skillet and fry up the chopped stems for about 3 minutes, stirring consistently. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and leave to cool.

Drain the liquid from the baked mushroom caps and place them with the hollow side up. Fill each cap with a thin layer of the mushroom stems mix you just prepared. Then, cover it with either the marinara or margherita pizza topping.

For the Marinara topping

Cut the anchovies in small pieces and mince the garlic. Mix them in a bowl with tomato sauce, oregano and capers. There should be enough Marinara topping to fill 4 Portobello caps.
Note: the Marinara sauce, although the word Marinara can deceive by its reference to the Mare, i.e. Sea, is only tomato sauce, garlic and oregano. Any other addition on this basis is just an addition, like anchovies and capers or even mushroom stems as in this case.

For the Margherita topping

In a bowl, mix the remaining basil leaves with tomato sauce, a drop of EVOO and a pinch of salt. There should be enough Margherita topping to fill the other 4 Portobello caps. Decorate the mushrooms with stripes of ham and thin slices of mozzarella and, optional, a sprinkled of grated Parmigiano.
Note: the Margherita base sauce is only tomato sauce, mozzarella (or Fior di latte) and basil. Any other addition is just an addition like ham and grated Parmigiano or even mushroom stems as in this case.

Top the miniature pizzas with a drop of EVOO before baking them.

Bake Portobello mushrooms for 15 minutes to 180° C and serve warm.

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