Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Felucia Fungii Parmesan
by SuSu, MaceVindaloo, Sparticus

On the Outer Rim planet Felucia, fungal plants grow to enormous sizes, many taller than buildings. It's the home of the Gossam race, and it was here that Jedi Knight Aayla Secura was sent with a battalion of clone troopers to investigate a plot to poison the water supply on that planet. There wsa a "twilight" aspect to the light here under the fungal canopies, and it reminded her a little of her home planet of Ryloth.

Aayla was born into a prominent family, but since she was born female, she was sold into slavery as an infant to be trained as a Twi'lek dancing girl. She escaped that fate when she met Quinlan Vos, who was then a Padawan. He was impressed with the infant's Force sensitivity which was developed enough to call to him for help soundlessly and also to help him focus his powers during a battle with a displaced wampa!

One of the only positive memories Aayla had of her time on her home planet was a type of braised dish called a "parmesan" which was fed to slaves. It was designed to make very thin slices of meat go farther, to feed more mouths. The twilight Felucia reminded her of this delicious dish, and she decided to re-create it.

But on Felucia, there were no non-poisonous meat animals, and Secura had ordered the troopers not to kill any creatures. So, they made use of the large fungii (after making sure they were safe for their consumption), as well as spices and ingredients from their rations to make a very tasty vegetarian variation of Secura's memorable dish.

And while they were harvesting mushrooms, they also decided to create the required sauce "from scratch" rather than using the ubiquitous dehydrated powdered marinara sauce. It turned out the troopers loved mushrooms, and they wanted to put them in everything they ate — even in the sauce in a dish of mushrooms!

To Secura, this redeemed the reviled memory of her slavery, in her mind. It's too bad she didn't live to tell anyone about it ...

    To grill the mushrooms:
  • Place a grill pan over medium high heat on your stovetop OR
  • Heat a gas or charcoal grill OR
  • Heat the broiler in your oven.
Place the mushrooms on the grill or in a high-heat-safe baking pan — with the gill-side (bottom) of the mushroom downward — and cook for 5 minutes, then flip the mushrooms over and continue to cook till they are tender, about another 5 minutes. The mushrooms will start to steam as they lose moisture and will "flatten out" when they are done.

Heat the oven to 375°F / 190°C. In a large baking dish (9" x 13" / 22.5 cm x 32.5 cm lasagne dish), spread about ½ cup of the tomato sauce on the bottom of the pan, then place the grilled or broiled mushrooms on the sauce-bed (so the gills are upward-facing). Spoon the remaining sauce right onto the mushroom caps, the sprinkle evenly with breadcrumbs, mozzarella, then top with parmesan.

Bake in the oven until the cheese melts and the top starts to brown. This will take about 10 to 15 minutes. Serve with crusty bread or unadorned pasta. Serves 6.

    Mushroom Tomato Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil, or a mixture of the two
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 1 lb / 450 g white mushrooms, sliced (can also add portobello stems, if available, diced)
  • 28 oz. diced tomatoes in juice, undrained
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar or honey
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • salt, to taste
In a saucepan, heat the butter and/or olive oil. If using butter, it will melt, then foam up. Add the onion and garlic and cook till softened and translucent. Add the mushrooms and put a lid on the pot and allow to cook till the mushrooms have exuded their juice and are softened. Remove the lid and allow the liquid to evaporate by half, then add the diced tomatoes, red pepper flakes, honey or brown sugar, and oregano. Stir to combine and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Add salt, to taste.

Serve with pasta, or in any application where marinara sauce is needed. Makes about 3 to 4 cups.

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