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V is for Victory with Veggies

By Michele

Recently, my friend Luci called asking if I would like some mushrooms, namely, baby bella and portobello. She purchased an overabundance and didn’t want them to spoil. My response was a quick “yes”.

Within an hour of receiving the mushrooms, my friend Judy sent me a text stating she was going to drop off some tomatoes from her garden, along with a cucumber. Lucky me! It took me no time to decide to make mushroom risotto with a side salad of tomatoes and cucumbers.

Mushroom Risotto


5-6 cups chicken broth, or as needed

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 pound portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced

1 pound baby bella mushrooms, thinly sliced

2 medium shallots, diced

1 ½ cups Arborio rice

½ cup dry white wine

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons finely chopped chives

⅓ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Warm broth in a saucepan over low heat.

  2. Meanwhile, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add portobello and baby bella mushrooms; cook and stir until soft and they release their liquid, about 5 minutes. Remove mushrooms and their liquid to a bowl; set aside.

  3. Add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the saucepan. Stir in shallots and cook for 2 minutes. Add rice; cook and stir until rice is coated with oil and pale golden in color, about 5 minutes.

  4. Pour in wine, stirring constantly until wine is fully absorbed. Add 1/2 cup warm broth to the rice and stir until the broth is absorbed.

  5. Continue adding broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly, until the liquid is absorbed, and the rice is tender yet firm to the bite, about 15 to 20 minutes.

  6. Remove from heat. Stir in mushrooms and their liquid, butter, chives, and Parmesan cheese.

The salad was simple. I sliced the luscious tomatoes and the crispy cucumber. Drizzled them with EVOO and balsamic vinegar and topped with salt and pepper.

The next day, I met up with another friend, Sally, for dinner. Ironically, she gifted me with a bulb from the first batch of garlic that she grew from just planting a clove last fall. Even through its papery skin, it was fragrant.

Given that I still had the portobello mushrooms in addition to this fresh garlic, I made a stuffed portobello utilizing the garlic, tomatoes, celery, onion, and some herbs and topped it all with fontina cheese. Splendid as a starter or side!

Stuffed Portobello topped with Fontina Cheese

(serves 4)


4 large portobello mushrooms, wiped clean, stem and grills removed

6 tbsp olive oil

Salt and black pepper

1 small onion, diced

1 celery stalk, diced

10 cherry tomatoes, chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed

½ cup grated Parmesan

1 tbsp tarragon leaves

4 tbsp coarsely shredded basil leaves

4 oz fontina cheese, sliced


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the mushrooms stem-side up, on the baking sheet and drizzle with a little olive oil and some salt and pepper. Place into the oven and roast for about 5-8 minutes or until the mushrooms begin to soften.

  2. While the mushrooms are roasting, heat up 2 tablespoons of the oil in a medium frying pan. Add the onion and celery and cook on low for about 5 to 10 minutes or until the vegetables are soft but not browned. Add the tomatoes and garlic and cook for a few more minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

  3. Once cooled, add the Parmesan, tarragon and half the basil to the mixture and season accordingly.

  4. Fill each portobello mushroom with the mixture and top with fontina slices. Return to the oven and cook for about 10 minutes or until the cheese melts and the mushrooms are tender.

  5. Transfer mushrooms to serving plate and drizzle with oil. Garnish with remaining basil.


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