This Foodie Friday is a nice vegetarian alternative to fish for a meatless main meal.

Kathy Whyte/ WNBF News
Kathy Whyte/ WNBF News

Portabella Mushroom Gratin Casserole (Prep. time about 40 minutes. Serves 12)

2 Tb. butter

1 Tb. olive oil

2 Tb. flour

2 C. egg noodles

¼ large onion, rough dice

3 cloves garlic, diced

1 tsp. each basil and sage

salt, pepper

1/3 C. roasted red pepper slices

8 oz. half & half

1 C milk

¼ tsp .nutmeg

1/3 C. shredded or thinly sliced Gouda cheese

1 C. shredded Gruyere  cheese

6 oz. Portabella mushroom caps, sliced 1/3 in thick

2 C. ricotta cheese

¼ C. Parmesan cheese

½ C. unseasoned bread crumbs. 

Preheat oven to 375. Start boiling the water for the egg noodles.  While that is heating, begin making the béchamel by heating the olive oil and butter in a medium sauce pan.  Add the onions and garlic and sauté until tender.  Stir in the flour to make a roux and cook over medium-low heat for a minute or two the get the raw flour taste out.  Whisk in the half and half and milk and keep stirring until the sauce begins to thicken. (The water for the noodles should be boiling by now so you can cook the noodles until tender.) Season the sauce with salt, pepper, nutmeg, basil and sage. Keeping the sauce on a medium heat, stir in the Gouda and Gruyere, further thickening the sauce.  Add the red pepper slices.  Once thickened, remove from heat and taste for seasoning.  Drain the egg noodles.  Spread a ladle full of the sauce in the bottom of a rectangular baking (cake) pan.  Spread half the noodles on top.  Evenly spoon sauce over the noodles then layer portabella slices. Drop spoonfuls of ricotta cheese evenly on top.  Spread remaining noodles for the next layer. Spread another thin layer of sauce over the noodles, reserving enough for the top. Layer remaining mushrooms, dollops of ricotta and spread the remaining sauce on top.  Liberally sprinkle bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.  To get an extra-crisp and brown top crust, spray the casserole with some cooking spray.

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Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes, until brown and bubbling.  Allow to rest for about ten minutes before serving so it holds together better when spooned out.

This recipe can be a satisfying vegetarian main dish if your family is going meatless for a day or more. 

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There are easy ways to make your own, or substitute ingredients to get around shortages or poor planning. Some can even save you a few bucks.

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