Sweet peppers, hot peppers, dried peppers, they all define southern Italian cooking. They are grilled, pickled and stuffed in endless varieties. Use a combination of red and green banana peppers for this recipe which uses cooked Arborio rice and grated cheese for the filling. They make a nice side dish to meats, fowl or fish and are served not hot, but at room temperature.
4 red or green banana peppers about 5 inches long and 3 inches wide
1 cup Arborio rice
1 3/4 cup chicken broth or water
1 cup grated aged Caciocavallo, Pecorino or Provolone cheese
1/4 cup minced flat leaf parsley
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
Grinding black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Lightly grease an 8 or 9 inch baking dish with olive oil and set aside
Cut the stem end off of each pepper and set aside. Remove the seeds in the interior of the peppers. Use a small spoon to scrape them out if necessary.
Put the rice in a 1 quart saucepan. Pour in the broth or water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium low, cover the pot and cook the rice until al dente. Drain the rice in a colander and transfer it to a bowl. Stir in the cheese, parsley, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Mix to combine the ingredients. Divide and stuff the rice into each pepper cavity.
Place the peppers in the prepared baking dish. Replace the stem ends. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the top of the peppers.
Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake the peppers for 35-40 minutes or until they are tender.
Serve hot or at room temperature.
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