The first time I ever cooked with portabello mushrooms was about 15 years ago. At the time I was making a lot of pizzas closely following my discovery of pizza stones. They make the crust crispy all around and are great for even cooking. I got into the habit of topping each pizza with two to three veggies and a meat. On some occasions my dinner guests were vegetarians, so minus the meat, but what to add to make the pizza hearty? I explored the produce section of the grocery store and came upon the portabellos – huge caps sitting over a sign that described them as meaty. Well, why not? If they don’t eat meat, why not serve them meaty mushrooms? The pizza with portabellos turned out great, and marinating the mushrooms added an extra layer of flavor. Since my last pizza stone broke and I started leaning toward low carb, I never replaced it. One recent tendency has been to make pizzas with low carb crust, and another is to reach back into my pizza past and snatch up the portabellos. This time I used them as the crust. They are quick and of course Little B can help with every step. Using tomato paste adds a spike of tomato flavor without adding much liquid. The one flaw, but not really, in this recipe is the wetness of the mushrooms. I will continue to explore how to dry out the mushrooms, because they soaked up a bit of liquid and the result is not what I would call hand pizza, but it tasted great. Grab a fork and knife for this flavorful rounds and dig in!
4 large Portabello mushrooms, stems removed
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 small can Italian herb tomato paste (or plain past mixed with 1 Tbsp Italian herbs)
2 tsp dried oregano leaves
2 tsp dried parsley leaves
2 tsp dried basil leaves
2 tsp garlic powder
8 ounces pepperoni, sliced thick
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
½ cup Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350F. Place caps stem side up on baking sheet, then sprinkle with lime juice, salt and pepper. Spread tomato paste on mushrooms, followed by a layer of basil, oregano, parsley and basil leaves, along with garlic powder. Place a layer of pepperoni slices and top with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until mushrooms are tender and cheese is melted and browning.