Peppers with a slight kick to them, like cubanellas or banana peppers are wonderful for this dish. You can serve stuffed peppers alone or with side of rigatoni, dressed with some sauce from the stuffed pepper baking dish, grated Romano cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil. This is a favorite dish at Becco, Lidia's restaurant in New York's Theater District. Joe has had it there.
- 1/3 cup Arborio rice
- 8 cubanella or banana peppers
- 3 tablespoons virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped (about one cup)
- 8 ounces ground meat (A mix of ground beef, pork and veal is best, but, that might not be practical. Try at least to used a blend of ground pork and beef, but, failing that, all ground beef or pork will do)
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
- 3 cups Tomato Sauce (see Tomato sauce recipes)
Cook the Arborio rice in a large saucepan of boiling water until al dente-tender but firm-about 12 minutes. Drain and cool to room temperature.
While the rice is cooking, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F., prepare the peppers, and start the filling: Cut the stems from the peppers and scrape out the seeds and membranes with a teaspoon. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 4 minutes. Scrape the onion into a mixing bowl, add the ground meat, egg, grated cheese, parsley, oreagano, and cooked rice, and stir together until evenly blended.
Divide the filling among the peppers, using about 1/4 cup to fill each pepper loosely. Rub the outside of the peppers lightly with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, placing them in a 13"x9" baking dish as you do so. Roast the peppers, turning once or twice with tongs, until softened and lightly browned in spots, about 20 minutes.
Pour in enough of the tomato sauce barely to cover the peppers. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake until the peppers are tender and the filling is cooked through, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove, and let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Makes 4 servings