ITALIAN STUFFED PEPPERS

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PEPPERED WITH STUFF!

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Buon giorno!

Stuffed Italian Peppers are easy winners every time! They make the most of your garden bounty if you are lucky enough to have them growing there. If not, there are some gorgeous and colorful specimens to be found at your local farmer’s markets. For the girls out there, these wonders are the “Manolo’s” of your local farmer’s markets.  You know what I’m talkin’ about, gals! Museum quality –  standing alone or accessorized by an amazing stuffing and sumptuous sauce, they are the perfect illustrations of how no one does it better than Mother Nature! (Excuse me, but did I just compare peppers to shoes?  Think I did!)

These lovelies are favorites in our household, with Tom being a huge fan. Stuffed Peppers, Italian style,make a beautiful presentation, thanks to their vivid colors – one that your guests will be talking about long after enjoying them. I suggest using one of each color available to get the maximum visual impact. I strongly caution you, however, if at all possible, to try to make the stuffing when no one is around to ensure that there will be enough left to put in the peppers! This stuffing is hard to resist!

Stuffed Peppers are great any time of year. They are simply perfect to serve On the Patio (my favorite place to dine!) in the spring and summer. The colors reflect those of the garden and represent the glory of the fresh local markets which I love and are available during this period. However, they are rich and hearty enough for winter fare as well. Anytime, anywhere – a healthy and beautiful presentation of Stuffed Peppers is the quintessential “meal in a cup” enhancing your table with its rainbow hues – OOOO-LA-LA! What could be better?

The peppers can be served as a meal in themselves, in which case you might want to plan for one whole pepper per person – or as a side dish with a half pepper per person. If you are fortunate enough to find the small “mini” ones, they make amazing appetizer/first courses. They are beautiful on the plate with two being sufficient for each person – unless you are me - in which case you must have 3!

They are wonderful left over seeming almost more flavorful the next day – which offers a great opportunity to make them a day in advance and reheat to serve. The sausage in the stuffing is definitely optional which offers the opportunity for making this a completely vegetarian dish.

This recipe provides 4 LARGE peppers and will serve 4 when left whole or 8 served in halves as a side to grilled meats or fish. You can stuff them whole or stuff the halves. I have made them both ways successfully. No Rules! My mother, Loretta, made them both ways as well depending upon her whim. Truthfully, I especially like to stuff them whole – just a little more drama for the mama! Troppo Bella! ( you can always cut them after baking to serve)

To roast, Loretta used to simply put a little olive oil, garlic and tomatoes, fresh or canned, in the bottom of the baking dish. I prefer to make a simple, quick and easy Marinara Sauce (see below) for the peppers to “swim” in. I think it adds a little more depth of flavor. She also liked to put Mozzarella Cheese on the top of the peppers. I don’t choose to do this, as the Mozzarella seems a little heavy for me with this dish. As usual, I like to tweak things a little!

These peppers are very EASY to make. You can take that to the bank!  So- go ahead – make the Marinara Sauce and the stuffing a day ahead if you like or even the peppers, themselves!

Note the use of Red Pepper Flakes which is optional. This would definitely be Attilio’s  addition (my spice loving Dad!) to both the stuffing and the sauce and I, personally, could not do without it in most cases. The Napoletana acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree!

Read more about Loretta and Attilio in About Linda at Linda’s Italian Table <click here !

As a pairing, I suggest an Italian wine such as a Sangiovese, a medium to full bodied red coming from the heart of Tuscany – not overly dry but just about right for my taste to go with the Stuffed Peppers. Antinori makes a good one, but there are many.

We begin…

ITALIAN STUFFED PEPPERS

4 Large Peppers – one of each color if possible.

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Slice off the tops as in the photo and chop the pepper meat from these tops and reserve for the stuffing

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Remove the seeds and fibrous veins from inside the peppers and discard them.

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Set peppers aside.

STUFFING

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

2 cloves garlic chopped finely

1 medium onion chopped

Chopped reserved pepper

2 links sausage meat removed from casings and broken into bits (OPTIONAL FOR A DELICIOUS VEGETARIAN VERSION)

Dash Red Pepper flakes (optional)

1/3 c. chopped parsley – Italian flat leaf preferable

Saute garlic, onion, meat from pepper tops about 4 minutes – med. Heat in fry pan. Add the sausage meat at this point to brown if you are using meat and red pepper flakes. Add the chopped parsley and remove from heat. See the beautiful colors in the photos – looks like confetti!

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2 c. fresh bread crumbs – Italian bread is great for this

1 1/2 c. cooked rice

3 generous tbsp grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1/4 c. capers rinsed and drained ( I like the tiny capers for this)

1 1/4 tsp Kosher Salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 eggs

Put crumbs and rice in large bowl. Add the vegetables and sausage from the fry pan to the bowl. Mix together. Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano, capers, salt, pepper and eggs. Mix all together. If a little dry you can add a few drops of olive oil.

Stuff the peppers. If your peppers are smaller and there is left over stuffing, you can put it around the peppers with the sauce. The stuffing soaked in the luscious sauce just rocks!

QUICK MARINARA SAUCE

1 clove garlic finely chopped

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 28 oz. can peeled Italian tomatoes – crush them with clean hands or put in blender and give 1 quick blend)

1/3 c. fresh basil chopped

1/4 c. fresh oregano chopped

1/3 c. parsley – flat leaf Italian preferable

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Dash red pepper flakes (optional)

Saute garlic in the olive oil for a couple of minutes at med. high (do not burn the garlic!) Add the tomatoes, fresh herbs, salt and pepper, and red pepper flakes. Simmer 30 min.

Ready to go!

ASSEMBLY

Put a little sauce in deep pan or baking dish, Nestle the stuffed peppers in the sauce propping them upright.

Top each pepper with a spoonful of sauce. Then sprinkle each with a generous teaspoon or more if you like of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Finish each with a little chopped parsley.

Pour the remaining sauce around the bottom of the pan – giving the peppers a little wading pool. Check your peppers 1/2 way through – if the sauce is drying, add a little water to it. Do not let it dry out.

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Bake in a 350 oven uncovered for 1 hour. (longer if necessary – if you are using particularly tough peppers) Fork should slide easily just into the pepper skin. Remove from oven and cool slightly and serve whole or halved.

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Uh oh! I’m in “gotta have it-ville” for one of these right now. Guess what Linda’s Italian Table is cooking up  for dinner tonight!!

PARLA COME MANGI!

Also: See the RECIPE OF THE MONTH on LINDA’S ITALIAN TABLE!

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Food Photos By Tommy Hanks Photography

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Comments

  1. Jessica Hanks says:

    This is one of my all time favorite dishes. I remember waiting (not so patiently) for the stuffed peppers to be ready. I’m so glad you posted this recipe. I made a vegetarian version with brown rice when I was in college that was quite good but nothing beats the original! Please invite me over the next time you make these!!!

  2. Linda Cavalucci says:

    I’m going to make your stuffed pepper recipe. I’m not sure how to make the fresh Italian bread crumbs. What size should they be? The only ingredient I don’t have is the capers. If I left them out would that be an Italian cardinal sin?

    I always look forward to seeing what recipes are coming. I read everything you write. I love the stories about your parents. I too was born in Binghamton, NY. My family moved to New Jersey when I was nine because my father was transferred with IBM.

    Keep on sharing with all of us.
    Ciao,
    Linda Rose

    • Linda – Such a lovely note – thank you! About the crumbs – use a food processor or just break the bread into pea size pieces. I use Italian bread and remove the crusts. Capers are great to include, but it’s fine to omit them. It’s so nice to have former Binghamtonians following my blog. Hope to hear a report about those peppers!

  3. I love, love your recipes!!

  4. Linda Cavalucci says:

    Linda,

    I’m just getting back to you on the stuffed peppers. Thank you for getting back to me immediately with the answer to my question. I made them the next day on February 2. I made the bread crumbs with Italian semolina bread. Cut the crust off and put it in the freezer (saved it for a rainy day). I had every ingredient except the capers. I did not use the capers because I did not want to leave the house to go buy them.

    O.M.G. . . . That recipe is the bomb. I was eating the stuffing before I put it in the peppers. I’m glad to know that the red, yellow and orange peppers were o.k. to use. I always used just the green ones. I actually liked the taste of the colored peppers a little more than the green. My husband loved them too! I loved the extra stuffing in the sauce. I could make a meal out of just that. I couldn’t wait to have them the next day. My dad came over and I made him a care package of peppers to take home. I was really sad when I offered my husband the last one to take to work for lunch. (I was secretly hoping he did not want it.) DARN !

    I’m ready to make them again. I just can’t say enough about this recipe.

    I am soooooooooo happy that I am subscribed to your Italian Table.

    All I can say is “Tutti a Tavola a Mangiare!” (“Everyone To The Table To Eat!”)

    Ciao,
    Linda Rose

    P.S. I received the recipe this morning for the Carnevale Cake. I ran right to the kitchen this morning and made it for Valentine’s Day. It is exquisite. Could not stop eating it! I will leave a post tomorrow about it.

    • Linda Rose – I am so thrilled that you liked the peppers. Of all the recipes on my site, this is the one that gets the most attention. It was a favorite of mine growing up when my mother made them. I agree with you on the pepper colors – the green are my least favorite. We always fight for the yellow ones at our house. Thank you so much for reporting in and sharing your experience.

  5. marie pronzato says:

    Thank you for the recipe. My mother use to make them but I forgot how she did them. I use to call her when I would forget but she isn’t here to do that anymore…thank you for being my surrogate Italian mama for this recipe….can’t wait to eat them

    • Marie – This recipe has long been a favorite at our house. It is also the most popular recipe on my recipe blog. I am happy to fill in for your Mom with this recipe! Enjoy!

  6. Last weekend I was invited to a pepper fest and I thought OMG what are we gonna cook. I came across ur recipe and thought this sounds good. Now I had to double everything for I had to make a good 20 peppers. It took us 5.5 hours to make and it was well worth it. Our pepper were gone before I knew it. Tomorrow I will find out what place we came in. Rumor has it we came in the top 3. I will keep you posted. Thank you for posting your recipe.

  7. Linda, with the larger peppers being a main course, what would you serve with them?

    • Mary – Offering the stuffed peppers as a main course, I would serve a salad with them. You don’t need much more as the peppers are filling and provide a meal in themselves.Enjoy!

      • Linda, thank you for this recipe..it was amazing. I served it with a scoop of mashed potatoes and 2 whole sweet carrots. Yes very filling indeed but worth every delicious mouthful. Next time, I will try it with the mini peppers and serve as an appetizer. Next I will tackle the gnocchi recipe. One of my favourite all time meals of my childhood. I’ve enjoyed ordering it in restaurants for many years but have not tried to make it from scratch. The gorgonzola sauce is very delicious and very rich I remember so will try the pork ragu sauce which appears similar to what my mom made. She also used the same sauce on another dish which we all loved….polenta. She poured the polenta in a huge platter and poured the pork ragu sauce over it once it cooled. Great memories. Thank you for your wonderful site.

        • Mary – So glad to hear you enjoyed the peppers. I know you’ll like the little ones too. They are so sweet and delicious.Pork Ragu is the perfect sauce for polenta especially when you add meatballs. Grazie and Buon Appetito!

  8. Corey Scienza says:

    Thanks for the great recipe! I’m Italian from NY as well, but unfortunately one of the few things my grandmother only made a couple times was her stuffed peppers and (of course) none of her recipes are written down. I used your recipe as a base ‘How-to’ and they have turned out great everytime! The batch I just finished tonight has chicken instead of sausage and I added artichoke hearts instead of capers and one BIG twist… PESTO! So good! Wouldn’t have been possible without this recipe, thank you again!

    • Corey – I’m so glad this recipe brought you success!

      • Linda Cavalucci says:

        Yesterday must have been stuffed pepper day! I got up and planned my day around making this fabulous recipe. It took me about 3 hours to do. I used mostly the yellow and orange peppers and one green one for chopping and mixing in stuffing. My brown rice,eggs and spices were organic. I always use the hot pepper flakes. You don’t taste them as ‘hot’ but it adds to the depth of flavor. I had purchased homemade sausage from an Italian store 2 days earlier. I made my bread crumbs from Italian semolina bread. (Since the first time I made them, I now make homemade all the time for this and other recipes. I save the crust for party appetizers.)

        All you home cooks out there should not be afraid of spending the time to prepare this recipe. It is so worth the time and effort. There is nothing like homemade. The fragrance in the house is addicting. If it were a perfume I would wear it! CAN’T WAIT FOR LEFTOVERS TODAY.

        Ciao,
        Linda Rose
        P.S. I make the Carnevale Cake all the time. Easy, quick and yummy!

  9. fran citino sullivan says:

    Hi Linda, found your wonderful site. It brings back a lot of memories, not just the eating of these foods but the fond memories associated with families getting together to make these special dishes. I intend to try some of these soon. By the way, do you have a good recipe for pasta frolia? In fact, for a ricotta pie. I would love to try a ricotta pie but I want the real authentic crust. Thanks again.

    • Fran – Thank you for your very kind comments. Pasta Frolla will be coming to the website along with Ricotta Pie.

  10. Marti Faytko says:

    Linda, I sound like a broken record (a good one, though) when I comment on your delicious recipes—the stuffed peppers were a huge hit at Andy’s birthday dinner last night! There wasn’t a speck of anything left on everyone’s plate. My brother-in-law Sylvano Tagnani was impressed with all your Italian recipes we discussed during dinner. I showed them copies of several of your recipes, so I felt like I was back in “show and tell” in elementary school! Haha! Andy said I could make the peppers again anytime. The different colored peppers help make a stunning presentation, too, and the marinara sauce added just the right touch. I would have used green ones if you hadn’t recommended the red, orange and yellow ones. You’re teaching me a lot. The photos and your conversational tone describing the steps go far beyond normal recipes and really make the difference for me; I would never have attempted making them without your extra “assistance”. Thanks again for helping make Andy’s birthday special.

    • Marti – thank you so much for your very generous comment. I treasure words like this. I am honored to hear that Sylvano liked what he saw in my recipes. Can’t say I’m surprised about the peppers though. My mother sure knew how to make them and passed it on to me. With a tweak or two they are now on my site as the most active recipe. Keep on cooking!!

  11. Hi Linda,

    Tante grazie!!! Made these today for our Sunday dinner and they were a hit. No leftovers. Well, actually there was a half pepper left over but my mother who was over eagerly took it home for her dinner tomorrow. By the way, she is Italian and an excellent cook!

    Loved your photos and all the details…felt like I had you beside me as I made them! Can’t wait to try more of your recipes.

    • Joanne, I loved hearing about your adventure with the peppers. This recipe is the most popular of any on my website. My mother would have been thrilled to know that so many others have enjoyed her stuffed peppers. I hope you’ll continue to enjoy my recipes. Thank you for the lovely comment.

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  1. […] If you’d like a little different twist or a more traditional stuffing for these little darlings, try my stuffing recipe for: Italian Stuffed Peppers.  […]

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