Kitchen Swap: The Pump Room’s Portabella Mushroom Wrap

The Pump Room opened in 1938.  In its hayday, the restaurant’s old school elegance and illustrious guests made the Pump Room one of Chicago’s top dining destinations to see and be seen. In addition to being famous for its lofty customers and history, we have the Pump Room to thank for inventing the Bloody Mary!

Located in Chicago’s Gold Coast inside the Ambassador East Hotel, the Pump Room has served the likes of Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra and Paul Newman among many other celebrities and socialites. Of course, the shining star of them all is the Pump Room’s delicious Portobello Mushroom Wrap. In accordance with its old Hollywood style, the Portabella Mushroom Wrap is made with mascarpone cheese and a port marinade for a chic and tasty twist.

The hotel and restaurant were recently purchased by Ian Schrager, the man behind Studio 54. While business may have slowed in recent years, we have every confidence that someone who knows a little something about iconic nightlife will be able do the restaurant justice and that it’s famed portabella wrap will continue adding to a long history of star power.

Portabella Mushroom Wrap

Recipe courtesy of Chef Joe Kindred, The Pump Room, Chicago
Yield: 24 servings

  • 6 Red onions, quartered in rings
  • 3 ounces port wine
  • 1 1/2 ounces balsamic vinegar
  • 24 Bell peppers (red, yellow, green)
  • 2 pounds large garlic cloves (skin on)
  • Olive oil as needed
  • 24 Portabella mushrooms, stemmed and gills
  • removed
  • 8 Shallots, thinly sliced
  • 12 ounces balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup minced fresh thyme
  • 3/4 cup minced fresh chives
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil,
  • divided
  • 6 Egg yolks
  • 48 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 24 Large spinach tortillas
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh mozzarella cheese, grated


Combine the onion rings (keeping them intact), port, and balsamic and refrigerate overnight. The next day, drain off the marinade and grill the onions until softened.

Toss the peppers and garlic with olive oil to coat and roast in a 350-degree oven until the pepper skins have begun to blacken and the garlic is tender. Slip the garlic from the skins into a food processor. Peel and seed the peppers.

Combine 2 cups olive oil, the shallots, 12 ounces balsamic, the thyme, chives, and 3/4 cup of the basil. Season with salt and pepper and gently toss the mixture with the mushrooms. Place the mushrooms, upside down, on a sheet pan lined with parchment or aluminum foil. Put the shallots and herbs in the mushrooms, but reserve any liquid left in the bowl. Roast until the mushrooms are tender. Return them to the remaining marinade to cool slightly.

Put 6 roasted red peppers in a food processor with the garlic. Add the yolks and remaining 6 tablespoons of the basil. Puree until fairly smooth, then add the mascarpone 4 ounces at a time and puree until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

For each serving to order: Warm a tortilla and spread it with 2 tablespoons of the red pepper mascarpone. Slice and lay 1 mushroom on top and add several pepper strips. Top with 1/4 onion, separating the rings. Sprinkle 1 ounce of mozzarella evenly over the vegetables. Melt the cheese. Slide the hot tortilla onto a plate.

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