Portobello Stacks

Portobello Stacks

2 cups prepared spaghetti sauce, divided
1/2 cup finely snipped fresh basil leaves
4 (4 to 5-inch) portobello mushrooms
8 ounces mild or hot Italian sausage, casing removed
1 to 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/2 cup Italian-style seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped peeled sweet onion
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons minced cilantro (no stems)
Grated Parmesan or Romano cheese as desired (optional)
Sprigs of fresh basil for garnish

In a small bowl, combine spaghetti sauce and basil, blending well; set aside.

With a sharp knife, cut each mushroom in half horizontally; arrange mushroom "bottoms" in a 9-inch square baking dish and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine sausage, 1/2 cup spaghetti/basil sauce, garlic, bread crumbs, onion, green pepper and cilantro, mixing well. Press mixture onto mushroom "bottoms," dividing evenly and fitting each mushroom. Top each with a mushroom "cap." Spoon reserved 1 1/2 cups spaghetti/basil sauce over mushrooms. Bake, loosely covered with aluminum foil, in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until sauce is bubbly hot; uncover, sprinkle each mushroom with grated Parmesan or Romano cheese, if desired, and continue baking for 6 to 8 minutes or until cheese becomes lightly browned.

Spoon a small amount of sauce on each of four appetizer or luncheon plates; arrange one mushroom atop the sauce on each plate and garnish each with a sprig of fresh basil.