Having a vegetarian over for dinner is much easier than it used to be.
Years ago if you had a vegetarian friend you were stuck making a quiche and a salad or the dreaded tofu.
Today it seems more than 50% of my dinners are vegetable based. Gratins and pastas, with the vegetables being the stars of the show. Vegetarians? Bring it on!
Here, my lucky vegetarian friends had this portobello mushroom parm ("parm" short for Parmesan) as part of a summer buffet. Because the portobello mushrooms are so meaty, the carnivores enjoyed them too!
Portabello Parmesan: serves 4
4 portobello mushroom caps, gills and middles scraped out to make bowls
cherry tomatoes, quartered (I used red & yellow)
fresh ciliegine (cherry size mozzarella balls packed in water), cut in half
4 tbsp of basil pesto (from a jar is fine)
8 kalamata olives, cut into slivers
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
In a casserole dish, lay out the mushroom caps and drizzle them with olive oil.
Spread a small amount of the pesto in the bottoms of the portobello bowls.
I placed the little halved mozzarella balls with the cherry tomatoes and olives haphazardly and sprinkled all with some kosher salt and a drizzle of olive oil.
Place the casserole dish in a 425F oven for 15 minutes until the cheese is oozing and melted (don't panic, it will look messy, but it will taste delicious).
Remove from the oven and sprinkle the grated cheese on top of the caps and place under the broiler for 1-2 minutes until the tomatoes are blistering.
Let cool a few minutes and drizzle some of the yummy basil oil that has leaked out onto the mushroom caps. Garnish with basil leaves and serve.