One day about a year or so ago I was watching Lidia’s Kitchen on Public Television, and on that day she made several dishes all featuring cubanelle peppers. One of those dishes was the stuffed peppers I have for you here. Although I did not take notes as I watched I remembered basically what she did. I must point out that this is my adaptation of her recipe since I did not get exact amounts of ingredients. Given the fact that these peppers are readily available at this time of year, I tend to make this when they are abundant.
Cubanelle peppers, also known as Italian frying peppers, are not what you usually think of when you want to make stuffed peppers. Usually the bell pepper is what comes to mind. In a previous post I presented my recipe for Homestyle Stuffed Peppers, using bell peppers,and promised then that I would tell you of my other recipe for stuffed peppers. So this is it. I like these particularly well because the skins are very thin, and the flesh surprisingly meaty.; they also bake in their sauce in about 90 minutes. I like to serve them with a pasta; one shaped to hold the sauce well. In this case I used a ribbed rigatoni. A tossed salad completed the meal. Oh, yes, a glass of red wine, too.
- 6 nicely shaped cubanelle peppers, seeds and ribs removed (do not choose peppers that are bent and gnarly )
- 1 pound bulk Italian sausage, mild, or hot; your preference
- 1/2 pound ground beef
- 1 egg
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 1 clove garlic, finely diced
- 1/4 cup seasoned fine bread crumbs
- salt and pepper
- 1 large jar prepared spaghetti sauce or home made marinara sauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. Prepare the peppers: cut off tops, remove bulk of seeds and carefully remove the ribs with your fingers, taking care not to crack or break the pepper. In the bottom of each pepper, cut a small hole. This lets the meat juices escape and the sauce to enter.
2. Prepare the meat filling: In a large bowl, combine the sausage, ground beef, egg,bread crumbs, minced onion and garlic. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Using a tablespoon, put meat filling into the peppers, pushing down gently with the spoon or tapping the pepper gently on the counter . Take care not to pack the meat too tightly. It needs room to expand so the filling will be tender. If you have meat filling left over after stuffing the peppers, form it into small meat balls. These can be tucked in around the peppers.
4. Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray; one that is large enough to hold the peppers and the sauce. Pour enough sauce in the dish to cover the bottom. Lay the stuffed peppers on the sauce (and any meatballs).
Pour the remaining sauce over all.
5. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 1/2.
The smell of these cooking is so wonderful it will make you hungry. In the last half hour of cooking time, boil water and cook pasta.
Serve with the sauce spooned over the pasta with grated Parmesano-Reggiano cheese on top.
SOURCE: adapted from a recipe by Lidia Bastianich