These Stuffed Italian Peppers are classic old-school comfort food and make a great weeknight meal. Inspired by a beautiful, abundant display of peppers at a local farmers’ market, this version varies a bit from the usual filling and contains those Italian American flavors that we all love — Italian pork sausage, ground beef, fresh mozzarella, Pecorino, herbs, spinach and tiny pasta.
1/2poundbulk hot or sweet Italian pork sausage, casings removed
1heaping cupyellow onion, small diced
1/2cupcup (dry) orzo or other small pasta, cooked, drained and mixed with 1 tsp olive oil
6ouncesfrozen chopped spinach, defrosted and completely strained
1/3poundfresh mozzarella cheese, small diced (reserve a small amount for the top of the peppers)
1/3cupPecorino Romano cheese, grated (reserve a small amount for the top of the peppers)
2large eggs, beaten
1Tbspfinely minced garlic
1/4cupchopped fresh basil
1/4cupchopped fresh parsley
pinchfreshly ground black pepper
For the Stuffed Peppers:
4bell peppers, sliced in half lengthwise, seeds and membranes removed, rinsed and dried (See NOTE about peppers below.)
1cupmarinara or tomato basil sauce
Reserved cheese from above
Additional fresh basil for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350◦F.
Prep all ingredients according to specifications above, including cooking and cooling the pasta.
Mix all filling ingredients together in a small bowl until well-combined, then set aside.
Carefully stuff each pepper half securely with the filling, packing it in.
Cover the bottom of a nonstick 13 ½”x9 ½” baking pan with the marinara, then nestle the stuffed peppers in the pan, arranging them in rows, stuffing side up.
Bake them uncovered in a 350◦F oven on the middle rack for about one hour or until they have reached an internal temperature of 165◦F.
Remove the pan from the oven, increase the oven temperature to 400◦F, then sprinkle the reserved mozzarella and pecorino on the roasted stuffed peppers.
Return the pan to the oven for another few minutes or until the cheese has melted.
Serve warm with additional fresh basil. Buon Appetito!
Undercook the pasta! It will be cooked again in the oven, so cooking it 1-2 minutes less than al dente is ideal. Be sure to cool the cooked pasta before mixing it with the other ingredients and mix in a little olive oil to prevent sticking.
This filling mixture can be made in advance and held, covered, in the refrigerator for one to two days until you are ready to use it.
The peppers can be stuffed and held, raw, in the refrigerator for up to one day before baking.
If you have filling leftover after having stuffed all the pepper halves, form them into small meatballs and pan-fry them for a snack!
Recipe by Mangia With Michele. Please visit my site for more great cooking inspiration!If you try this recipe, please share a photo on INSTAGRAM or FACEBOOK and tag it @MangiaWithMichele and #MangiaWithMichele. I’d love to see it!
Keyword stuffed peppers, pepper recipes, bell peppers, peppers, meat recipes