Italian Stuffed Peppers: A Package Meal

July 15, 2011

I never met a pepper I did not like, especially Cubanella, those long, lime green peppers that Italians love to stuff. I imagine all kinds of fillings for them from flavored bread crumbs (the old standby) to more exotic concoctions like sausage and mushroom, cheese and salami, sun dried tomato, or rice and pancetta.

Stuffed peppers are for me a great packaged meal. Add a salad and some fresh fruit and dinner is nothing but sheer satisfaction.

Italian Stuffed Peppers

Makes 8

8 Cubanella peppers
3 cups chicken broth
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup arborio rice or brown rice
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
¼ pound pancetta, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, mined
¼ chop minced parsley
½ cup grated Pecorino cheese
½ cup dry white wine

Cut the stem tops off the peppers and set them aside. Remove seeds from peppers and rinse then well. Set aside.

Pour the broth into a saucepan and bring to a boil; stir in the salt and the rice. Lower the heat to medium low, cover the pot and cook the rice until all the liquid is absorbed. Transfer the rice to a medium size bowl. Set aside.

In the same pan used to cook the rice, heat the olive oil and pancetta over medium heat. Cook until the pancetta begins to render its fat; stir in the onions and continue cooking until the onions soften. Stir in the garlic and cook until the garlic softens. Transfer the mixture to the bowl with the rice. Stir in the parsley and cheese and set aside.

Brush a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish with olive oil. Preheat the oven to 350F.

Stuff the pepper with the rice mixture and place them in the casserole side by side. Do not overstuff them or they will split while baking.

Place the stem tops back on the pepper. Make a small slit with in each pepper to allow steam to escape. Add the wine to the pan.

Drizzle the tops of the peppers with olive oil.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake the pepper for 35-40 minutes or until they are soft.

Serve hot.

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