Neapolitan Stuffed Peppers
This recipe reflects all that is great about the local products of the region of Campania, particularly Naples, where sweet peppers as big as melons grow in the rich volcanic soil around Mt. Vesuvius. Add eggplant, another local, rich crop, artisan mozzarella cheese, fragrant basil, and plum tomatoes and you have a history of Neapolitan food in this delicious sweet pepper stuffed casserole.
- 8 large sweet red bell peppers
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup peanut oil
- 2 small eggplants, peeled and diced
- 1/2 cup finely chopped pitted oil cured olives
- 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons Filippo Berio extra-virgin olive oil
- Ten 1/2-inch slices Italian bread
- 1 cup diced mozzarella cheese (about 1/4 pound )
- 6 fresh plum tomatoes, chopped
- 1 cup toasted fresh bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Place the peppers on an oiled grill or broiler pan and grill or broil them, turning them occasionally, until they are blackened all over. Place them in a paper bag, close the bag, and let them cool. Peel off the skins. Remove the core, cut down one side of each pepper, and open them out flat. Carefully brush out the seeds with paper towels and set the peppers aside.
- In a skillet, heat 1/4 cup of the peanut oil and fry the eggplant in batches, until browned, adding more oil as necessary. Remove the eggplant to a large bowl. Add the olives, capers, and basil, and mix well.
- Wipe out the skillet and add 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Heat the oil and fry the bread slices a few at a time, adding more oil as necessary, until browned on both sides. Drain on brown paper. Tear the bread into small pieces and add to the eggplant mixture. Add the cheese and plum tomatoes, and mix well.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- Combine the bread crumbs and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
- Place about 1/2 cup of the eggplant mixture on one end of each pepper and roll each pepper up like a jelly roll. Place the peppers in an oiled baking dish and drizzle them with the 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top. Bake for 15 minutes or until heated through. This dish can be made a couple days ahead of time and reheated.
- Tip: Smaller eggplant are less bitter than larger ones since they are almost seedless.
This recipe was featured on Season 22 - Episode 2211.