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Stuffed Cubanelle Peppers

Peperoni Ripieni

SERVES 4

Sweet peppers, hot peppers, dried peppers, they all define southern Italian cooking. They are revered by cooks, who grill, pickle, and stuff them in so many ways. Cornetti are long, green peppers found in Italy that are similar to our more readily available cubanelle or banana peppers. This is the Italian frying pepper that is light green in color but matures to red when left to ripen. They are stuffed with grated cheese and arborio rice, the same type of rice used to make risotto but without all that stirring. This is a colorful side dish presentation for meats, fowl, or fish. The peppers can also stand on their own as a meal in themselves.

Ingredients

4 red or green banana peppers, about 5 inches long and 3 inches wide (Best are Cubanelle — lime green peppers also called Italian frying peppers)

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 Filippo Berio extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Lightly grease an 8 or 9-inch backing 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.

Make a small hole at the end of each pepper with a toothpick to prevent them from splitting when baked.

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 it is al dente, meaning still firm but cooked through. 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 30 minutes. Uncover them and bake for 10 minutes or until they are tender.

Serve at room temperature.

This recipe is from CIAO ITALIA PRONTO by Mary Ann Esposito, published by St. Martin's Press in 2005.

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