Homemade Tomato Sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 dried bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (28-ounce) can chopped plum tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, finely sliced
6 ounces baby spinach
Panko Bread Crumb Topping:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
8 large portobello mushrooms, stems trimmed
4 ounces soft, young goat cheese
Using large saucepan, heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Once the oil is warm, add the chopped garlic, stirring continuously for 30 seconds, making sure that the garlic does not brown (this is essential). Add the bay leaves and the dried oregano to the pan and stir continuously for a minute.
Add tomato paste and canned tomatoes, stir together, and bring to low simmer. Cover and simmer sauce for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the sliced shallots and sauté until soft and translucent.
Add the baby spinach and sauté until just wilted, stirring continuously. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Melt the butter in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Once the butter is just beginning to sizzle, add the chopped shallots and cook for 30 seconds, stirring continuously.
Add the panko breadcrumbs and chopped garlic, and toast for three to four minutes, stirring constantly to prevent the breadcrumbs from burning--or until the breadcrumbs should be lightly golden.
Prepare the Mushrooms:
Preheat the oven to 425 º. Line a large baking sheet with foil and wire rack.
Trim the portobello mushrooms and drizzle them lightly with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat a grill pan over high heat. Grill the portobello mushrooms for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Place the grilled portobello mushrooms gill-side up onto the wire rack as they are ready (the mushrooms will give off a lot of liquid as they cook and sit, and this will prevent them from sitting in any of their juices).
Top the mushrooms with a large spoonful of tomato sauce and then top with spinach mixture, distributing it evenly among the mushrooms.
Slice the goat cheese into 1/2" thick slices (roughly half an ounce). Bread the goat cheese slices lightly in the panko breadcrumb topping and place on top of each mushroom. Sprinkle the mushrooms with the remaining breadcrumb mixture.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until heated through and the breadcrumbs are golden brown and goat cheese is jut beginning to soften. Serve immediately.
To speed up the cooking process, feel free to substitute the homemade sauce with your favorite store-bought variety--but homemade is always best!
TIPS FOR SUCCESS:
These stuffed portobellos are hearty enough to be served on their own with a simple salad or grain (such as quinoa or pasta!).