Here is a warm and satisfying twist on a classic Caprese salad. Fresh basil doesn’t hold up well to heat, so pesto sauce is used instead. You can used prepared pesto for this recipe, but for best results, try it with this fresh basil pesto recipe.
You can use either fresh or dried mozzarella in this recipe. Fresh is really delicious and it melts beautifully, but it has a higher moisture content. As a result, there may be some excess moisture in the pan after baking.
6 large Portobello mushroom caps, stems and gills removed
3 T. extra virgin olive oil
6 oz. fresh or shredded mozzarella cheese
½ pint grape tomatoes, washed, dried, and cut in half
½ c. fresh or bottled pesto*
Salt and pepper, to taste
Aged balsamic vinegar or glaze
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. With a pastry brush, brush olive oil on outside of each mushroom cap, and around the interior and edges.
Place oiled caps on lined baking sheet and evenly divide the mozzarella cheese between them. Top each cap with sliced grape tomatoes and drizzle with pesto. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, according to taste.
Place baking sheet on middle rack of oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Remove from heat and drizzle with aged balsamic vinegar or a thicker glaze, if desired. Serve immediately.
To prepare the mushroom caps, gently remove stems by hand. Then, scoop out the gills with a spoon and discard. This will give you more room to add your toppings, plus it will remove any residual grit.