I am a huge fan of sweet bell peppers, at any time of the year. They are naturally such fun, vibrant colours and are full of healthy vitamins and nutrients, in particular: vitamin C! When the farmer’s market was still open, I would pick up a new basket of farm-fresh peppers every week. I like to eat them raw on their own or in a salad, as well as roasted in the oven or grilled on the BBQ!
I am sharing my basic stuffed pepper recipe, based on tips from both my Dad and Nonna, as well as my own personal experience. This is one of the most versatile and useful dishes, and they are a perfect dish for guests as they can be prepared the day before and kept in the fridge until ready to roast. They are also impossible to mess up!
ROASTED STUFFED PEPPERS
Serves: 4 people as a main, or 12 as an appetizer/side
- 12 mini sweet bell peppers
- 500 gr. (1 lb.) ground meat
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped
- 1 small zucchini, grated
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 80 gr. (1 cup) cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1 XL egg (or 2 large/med eggs), beaten
- Rinse the peppers and cut off the tops. Separate the tops from the stem, chop them into small pieces, and save them for later.
- Remove the seeds and inner flesh with a fillet knife. Salt the inside of the pepper and place upside down on a pan to let the water drain.
- Heat a pan to medium heat, and cook the ground meat until almost fully cooked. I used a mix of beef and veal, although any meat will work. When meat is ready, drain excess fat and place meat in a medium (metal) bowl.
- Using the same pan, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add the chopped onion and pepper. Sauté on med-low heat until onions are translucent. Add garlic toward the end. Add to bowl and mix with meat.
- Mix in zucchini, cheese, bread crumbs, egg, and spices of your choice. I used a mix of parmigiano reggiano and asiago cheese.
- You are now ready to fill the peppers! Save any extra filling and stuff more peppers, tomatoes, or add to an omelette, soup, or pasta sauce!
- At this point, you can store the peppers in the fridge overnight, or roast them right away.
- To roast, pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Place peppers in the oven for about 30 minutes. You can rotate them half-way through roasting if you prefer. Peppers are done when the outer skin looks good and roasted (or belli e arrostiti as my Nonna would say!).