I’ve decided stuffing peppers is quite similar to preparing pasta: there seem to be endless possibilites with both. Just like your favorite pasta recipes, stuffing bell peppers (or other varieties of peppers) can be varied according to what you have on hand or what you and your family may be willing to try. Admittedly, I’m quite a bit more adventurous than the rest of my family members, so this recipe reflects my attempts at trying to “win over” my kids with any type of stuffed pepper. I told them I was stuffing the peppers with pizza toppings. At the table they were greeted with mixed results, of course my husband loved the fact that they were filled with sweet, Italian sausage.
During my youth, we saw stuffed peppers on the table at least once a month if not more. My parents used tradtional fillings and Italian spices and cheeses (I’m sure that this was primarily because my Mom is Italian). But let me also share that using various flavorings and fillings including cracked wheat (bulgar), quinoa, brown rice or couscous will transform a basic meat-stuffed, cheese-topped stuffed pepper into something with Spanish, Middle Eastern or Greek influences (to name a few). Of course, some of you may leave out the grains and meat altogether to yield a strictly vegetarian outcome. My point is, peppers are quite versatile and can lend themselves to a delicious main dish or a flavorful, vegetarian side dish. I confess that I would love to include the latter as something a little more inventive than steaming a vegetable.
You can also look here for a previous post on Stuffed Peppers for additional inspiraton.
Peppers Stuffed with Italian Sausage
4 green (or red) bell peppers, cut and seeded (reserving tops)
1 lb sweet Italian sausage (removed from casings)
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 cup sliced mushrooms
3 tbsp slice Sicilian olives
3 tbsp freshly grated Parmagiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 8-ounc can tomato sauce
1/2 cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese
Par-boil peppers for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Over medium heat, cook sausage stirring frequently to break up. Cook until no longer pink. Drain sausage leaving about 2 tbsp of drippings in pan. Place drained sausage ino medium-sized mixing bowl.
Add onion to hot pan and saute until soft. Add garlic and saute for 2 more minutes. Remove onion-garlic mixture to bowl with sausage. Add mushrooms and saute until soft and edges are slightly darkened. Remove from heat and add to mixing bowl, along with next 4 ingredients. Stir. Taste for seasoning. Add salt, if needed. Fill peppers and add to baking dish. Top filled peppers with mozarella cheese
Bake in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and lightly golden.
Yield: 4 servings