We must pray as well as eat. Give a thought to the people of Florida before your meal today and help them if you can. (I’ll bet your church or local charity is raising funds.)  This is a picture from Fort Meyers – we have many friends in Naples who have damaged homes and lost cars.

September 21, 2022 – September 27, 2022

Wednesday:            Caesar Pasta Salad

Friday:                       Roasted Grouper and Vegetables with Royal Rice

Sunday:                     Pasta with Kale Sauce

Monday:                   Black Bean Chorizo Stew

Tuesday                    Sheet Pan Mushroom Parmigano


Anyone who knows my political tendencies and my history of grilling meat may have suffered whiplash when they saw the headline for this week’s post. Imagine Barry Goldwater inviting you to his ranch and serving tofu based on a recipe he’d clipped from The Nation magazine.

What happened was that I saw some great looking recipes in the NYT cooking section last Sunday.  The NYT, in spite of its sins (ridiculous rewriting of history, hounding of Bari Weiss et. al., from the paper, and viewing sports from the angle of transgenderism) still has some of the best reporters in the business as well as a great puzzle section in the Magazine, Wordle for everyday brain teasing and, maybe once a quarter, a separate and very good recipe section.  Last Sunday’s section was spectacular and I’ll be cooking my way through the whole thing.  But one dish, in particular, caught SWMBO’s eye – Sheet-Pan Mushroom Parmigiana.

I held her off for a day by arguing for black bean and chorizo stew on a chilly night.  But Mère cooked the Sheet-Pan recipe that same night and Howard declared it the best thing he ever ate (he and I are given to small exaggerations from time to time) and, well, mushroom parmigiana it was going to be or I was going to sleep on the couch or down at the Days Inn.

As Billy can attest, there was nothing off-putting about this meatless meal.  Savory, unctuous and, with the melted, slightly charred mozzarella and the marinara sauce and roasted tomatoes, fairly addictive.  Hell, Barry Goldwater would have asked for seconds.  And Billy and Beez did, stroking my ego and leading to this week’s post.


(adapted from the NYT “Cooking” section, 9/25/22)

Timing:                                              30 minutes

Ingredients:                                       Serves 4

10 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved – one of those containers you get at the grocery store – a dry pint.

8 portobello mushrooms, stems removed [I’d go for the medium-sized portobellos, maybe 2 ½” – 3” in diameter.  If you go for the 2 1/2” you might get 3 per diner]

3 cups store-bought or homemade marinara sauce

3 cups shredded low-moisture mozzarella (12 ounces)

1 cup panko bread crumbs

½ cup basil leaves, finely chopped, plus more leaves for topping

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped – we used ¾ of a clove

Extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher Salt and Black Pepper


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Arrange cherry tomatoes on a sheet pan and sprinkle half the garlic on them then drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper and toss to coat.

Add the mushroom caps in between the tomatoes, gill side up, and drizzle generously with olive oil.  Scatter the remaining garlic over the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper.

Fill each mushroom cap with marina sauce and top with cheese.

Finely chop the basil


Place the sheet-pan in the oven and roast for 15-20 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and golden.

While the parmigiana is cooking, heat a medium skillet over medium-high.  Add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and, when it starts to shimmer, add the bread crumbs, the basil and ½ teaspoon of salt.  Stir and toss constantly for 2 or so minutes – until golden.


When the mushrooms are finished, transfer to plates along with some of the roasted tomatoes.  Top each mushroom with the basil bread crumbs and scatter with a few basil leaves.


  1. Thanks – I was looking for a good vegetarian entrée for my sisters’ visit next weekend! And I do the NYT games daily – wordle, spelling bee, the mini, and vertex are my favs!

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