Roasted Mushroom Toasts with Ricotta & Gruyere

There is nothing like roasting mushrooms to bring out the flavor and their fabulous aroma. Whenever we walk into a kitchen of roasting mushrooms, the hunger pangs start chattering! We love roasted mushrooms in so many dishes, but this simple recipe of roasted portobellos (or your favorite mushroom) on thick slices of Italian or French bread toasts with ricotta and Gruyere cheese is simple and a crowd-pleaser for sure.  If you love mushrooms, you will fall in love with this recipe! Store-bought ricotta is perfect for this recipe, but If you are feeling ambitious, try making your own homemade ricotta for this dish. It’s a fun project and tastes delicious. The recipe is included at the end of this post.

Roasted Mushroom Toasts with Ricotta & Gruyere

The number of pieces this recipe serves all depends upon the type of bread you use. If you're using a boule or round loaf, you may want to cut each slice in half, because the slices get rather large, especially toward the center of the loaf. We have found that either French batard or Italian Pugliese are the best size loaves for this recipe because the slices are perfect for a person to handle. Well, they will most likely want two of them, so be prepared!
We love to grill the bread on the barbecue first before adding any of the toppings because it gives the bread just the perfect crunch and also comes with those nifty brown stripes, which look really great. But, if you are in a hurry, or simply don't have a grill, you can certainly toast the bread in the oven before adding the rest of the goodies.  
These make great pass-around appetizers, too, but be sure to use cremini in place of the portobello mushrooms and slice a baguette in place of the batard, so the slices are easy to handle. Otherwise, follow all of the same instructions. 
And, finally, since we love to make our own ricotta, we have included the recipe below, but store-bought ricotta is also wonderful in this recipe, so no worries if you don't have the time or inclination to make your own ricotta. Use a good quality Gruyere in this recipe … you won't be disappointed that you made that investment, because good quality, aged Gruyere is fabulous by itself, but especially with these roasted mushrooms!
Prep Time 30 mins

Equipment

  • Homemade Ricotta 
  • 1 large pot
  • 1 large colander
  • 1-2 large pieces of cheesecloth
  • 1 kitchen or candy thermometer

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese store-bought or homemade (recipe below)
  • 1 recipe roasted portobellos and shallots recipe below
  • 2 cups grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1 loaf of Italian Pugliese or French country boule sliced into 1/3-inch slices
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Roasted Portobello and Shallots

  • 4 large portobello mushrooms cleaned and sliced into ¼ inch slices
  • 2 large shallots cut into long slices
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper

Homemade Ricotta 

  • 8 cups milk (do not use ultra-pasteurized … see notes above)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice (strain pulp out)
  • 2 tablespoon rice vinegar (can also use white wine vinegar)

Instructions

  • Preheat your grill or barbecue to medium. (You only need this to grill the bread before adding the other ingredients and if you prefer, you can toast your bread in the oven too.)
  • Preheat the oven also to 400 F.
  • Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Lay bread slices out on the tray and lightly brush both sides of the bread with a little bit of olive oil.
  • Grill bread one or two minutes per side, just until brown stripes start showing. Remove toasts from the grill and transfer back to the baking sheet. (If you prefer to toast the bread in the oven, simply bake at 400 F until lightly toasted on both sides.)
  • Spread one side of each toast with a layer of ricotta cheese. Arrange roasted mushrooms and shallots on each toast on top of ricotta cheese.
  • Sprinkle grated Gruyere over all and bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and slightly browned. Serve hot!
  • If you are ambitious and would love to make your own ricotta, here is a simple recipe.

Roasted Portobello and Shallots

  • Preheat oven to 425 F. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
  • Lay sliced mushrooms and shallots out in a single layer on the baking sheet. Season mushrooms with lemon pepper, salt, and pepper.
    Drizzle olive oil over all and toss with clean hands to lightly coat the veggies.
  • Roast for approximately 15-20 minutes, flipping mushrooms and shallots halfway through the baking. Mushrooms and shallots will begin to brown and the mushroom liquid will begin to evaporate.
    Remove from oven.
    This step can be done several days ahead of time. Just store the roasted mushrooms and shallots in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Homemade Ricotta 

  • In a large pot, slowly heat the milk and cream together until it reaches 185 F, stirring occasionally along the way.
    The best way to measure the temperature is to clip a candy or instant-read thermometer to the side of the pot when you first begin the process. 
  • While the milk mixture is heating, line a colander with cheesecloth and position the colander over a bowl that is slightly smaller than the colander.
    Set aside. Mix the lemon juice and vinegar in a small container and set aside.
  • Once the temperature reaches 185 F, remove the pot from the heat and immediately stir in the salt. Slowly drizzle the lemon juice and rice vinegar over the top.
    Stir gently with a silicone spoon or spatula until the curds begin to form. 
  • Ladle or pour the mixture into the colander and allow the liquid to flow into the bowl underneath and the curds to remain in the colander. You may have to empty the bowl a few times so that it won't overflow back into the colander.
    Once you see most of the liquid flow through, roll any loose edges of cheesecloth over the top of the cheese and allow the mixture to drain until it reaches the consistency you desire.
    This can take anywhere from 20 minutes to a few hours, depending upon how firm you like your ricotta. I've even let it drain overnight in the refrigerator.
    Be sure to cover the ricotta with some plastic wrap if you do this overnight.  
  • Store the cheese in an airtight container for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

Notes

Note* We love to first grill the bread on the barbecue because it gives the bread the perfect crisp, but if you prefer, you can toast the bread in a 400 F oven, just until it’s beginning to brown on the edges.
The mushrooms in this photo are actually cremini, but this is how you want the mushrooms and shallots to look once they are roasted.

Homemade Ricotta 

(Yields approximately 2 cups or 1 pint)

Even though making your own cheese at home sounds a bit daunting, this ricotta recipe is super easy and really fun to do. This cheese is delicious as an appetizer, but also works great in the filling for homemade lasagna or served with roasted mushrooms on toasted country bread. It takes about 20 minutes or so to heat the milk and cream to the right temperature and then it’s just a matter of how firm or soft you want your cheese to be that will determine the total time involved. 

Whole milk makes much better ricotta than low-fat milk, and it’s best to find one that is not ultra-pasteurized. Ultra-pasteurized milk is not recommended because it has already been heated to a very high temperature of 280 degrees Fahrenheit which prevents it from curdling properly. Normally pasteurized milk has been heated to a much lower temperature of between 145 and 161 degrees. You need the curds and whey to separate for making ricotta, so just stick to normally pasteurized milk for this project! We also recently made our ricotta with non-homogenized milk and it was delicious and super creamy, but it’s difficult to find this kind of milk, and if you can’t, just stick with homogenized milk and it will work out just fine.  

Fresh homemade ricotta cheese – easy to make, delicious to eat!
Separating the curds and whey in a cheesecloth-lined colander for your homemade ricotta cheese
Roasted Mushroom Toasts with Ricotta & Gruyere cheese

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