While often thought of as a vegetable and prepared like one, mushrooms are actually a fungus, a special type of living organism that has no roots, leaves, flowers or seeds. Mushrooms were once regarded by the Egyptian pharaohs as a food that should only be consumed by royalty.
Mushrooms are a food that are gathered in the wild and harvested in mushroom farms. I have had the opportunity to visit a mushroom farm and found it to be quite an interesting experience. It involved a lot of manure and low lighting, not the best combination! It is said that in 10,000 BC, women did the gathering while men did the hunting. Women were said to be blessed with the ability to see in the dim light so they were successful in foraging for mushrooms and fungi amongst other things. (information from Wikipedia)
The Crimini mushrooms are actually immature Portobello mushrooms. If they were left to grow another 48 to 72 hours, they would quadruple in size with a Portobello shape. They are coffee colored and richer in flavor and nutrients than the more common white button mushroom. WHFoods reports that crimini mushrooms are an excellent source of selenium, riboflavin (vitamin B2), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), copper, niacin (vitamin B3), potassium and phosphorous.
2 cups of sliced crimini or baby portobella mushrooms
1/4 cup of port wine
1/3 cup of flour
2 3/4 cup of chicken broth
1 1/4 cups of grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 cup (2 ounces) of cream cheese
3 cups of hot cooked linguine (about 1/2 pound of uncooked pasta)
2 cups of chopped cooked chicken breast (about 3/4 pound)
1 tablespoon of bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350F.
Melt butter in large stockpot coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add onion, pepper, salt, and mushrooms; sauté 4 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Add port; cook 1 minute.
Gradually add flour to pan; cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly (mixture will be thick) with a whisk. Gradually add broth, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.
Add 1 cup of Parmesan cheese and cream cheese, stirring with a whisk until cream cheese melts. Add the pasta and chicken, and stir until blended. Pour the pasta mixture into an 8-inch-square baking dish coated with cooking spray.
Combine breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese; sprinkle evenly over pasta mixture.
Bake at 350F for 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove casserole from oven; let stand 15 minutes.
My love of food was cultivated early on by my family but has come alive while living in Peru. During the 12 years of living in Lima, Peru, I have also enjoyed numerous trips to other areas of the country.
Here on Provecho Peru you will find Peruvian recipes in English, American favorites prepared overseas, news about Peruvian Cuisine and interesting tidbits about life in Peru.