Champagne is only considered authentic if it comes from the Champagne wine region in France. That's why cava is cava, prosecco is prosecco, and they are both “sparkling wine.”
Basmati rice also yields a similar pedigree, and can only come from the foothills of the Himalayas. If not, it may be tasty, but it is not technically, or authentically, Basmati. If you love that type of fluffy, nutty, long grain rice—aged for a minimum of 12 months—you'll want to try this recipe.
Basmati Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
1 cup Royal® Basmati
½ cup ricotta cheese
½ medium white onion
1 tablespoon pancetta or 1 slice bacon bits (optional)
6 sprigs of fresh thyme and more sprigs for garnish
6 medium Portobello mushrooms
1 tablespoon + 1/4 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
Black pepper to taste
TIME: 40 minutes
1. Place Royal Basmati rice in a medium mixing bowl. Cover with water. Rinse rice till the water turns milky. Drain rice well over a colander. Repeat this cleaning process till the water runs clear (1–2 times more). This helps get rid of grit and extra starch in the rice.
2. Place cleaned rice in a pot to cook. Cover with 2 cups fresh water. Cook uncovered for 2–3 minutes over medium heat till the water begins to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, stir in a pinch of salt and butter if you like. Cover the pot and cook rice till tender, 8–10 minutes. Do not stir while rice is cooking as this breaks up the grains. Occasionally uncover the pot to check how much water is being absorbed.
3. The rice is ready when the water is fully absorbed and the rice grains have expanded and become fluffy. Turn off the heat and let the hot rice sit covered till needed.
4. While the rice cooks, mince the onion, strip leaves off 2 sprigs of thyme, and cut pancetta or bacon into small pieces. Wipe mushrooms clean with a damp cloth. Remove the stems and chop them fine. Place the mushroom caps on a small baking sheet drizzled with 1 teaspoon oil. Smear oil lightly over the outsides. Place 4 sprigs of thyme around the mushrooms and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
5. Heat oil and butter in a skillet. Over high heat, sauté the pancetta. Add the onions and cook stirring till softened, 2–3 minutes. Stir in the chopped mushroom stems and sauté briefly. Add the cooked rice and ricotta to the skillet. Season the rice with salt and pepper. Stir in thyme leaves.
6. When the rice and ricotta have combined, turn off the heat. Check seasonings and correct if needed. The mixture will be somewhat soft because of the ricotta. Stuff each mushroom with a mounded tablespoon of the rice mixture. There will be some left over if you wish to stuff more mushrooms.
7. Bake the mushrooms for 20 minutes or till golden brown on top. Garnish each mushroom with a fresh sprig of thyme and serve hot.