What’s Cooking Wednesday: Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers ready for baking on FlickrWhen I was younger, I missed out on a lot of amazing food simply because my tastebuds weren’t ready; I was always a good “tryer” though, so I was sure that I’d be ready whenever my tastebuds were.

Case in point: I tried sweet potatoes *every* year at Thanksgiving until I liked them. Now I love them!

I don’t remember exactly when I started actually liking (then loving) peppers, but I’m so happy my tastebuds finally caught up to the desire for the flavor.

Indeed, peppers continue to be one of my very favorite foods in the world, especially when included in my mom’s stuffed peppers, today’s What’s Cooking Wednesday recipe.

Note: this is *very* different from how P’s mom makes peperoni ripieni, which are quite similar to her Calabrian stuffed eggplant–meatless and fried.

To give you an idea of how local Italian cooking is:

P’s mom’s recipe is from Badolato; my mom’s recipe is essentially my great-grandmother’s, who came from Isca, the very next town over. I have also eaten stuffed peppers at another Iscatani household, and they tasted really similar to my mom’s–only they had a little surprise chunk of suppressata in the center. Try it!

So when you hear that Italian cooking is regional, think even smaller…it can differ *greatly* by town, just like the dialects!

The recipe below calls for sauce over the peppers as they bake; you can, of course, use your favorite jarred sauce or make your own by frying a clove of garlic (minced) and one small onion (chopped finely) in about two tablespoons of olive oil, adding a can of tomatoes/sauce, and adjusting for salt. It only needs to simmer for about 15 minutes as it’ll also cook in the oven.

If you’re planning on serving pasta with the peppers, use two cans/jars of tomatoes/sauce.

Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed pepper ready for eating on Flickr

  • 6 small peppers (see photos for size I used)
  • 1 cup cooked rice (1/3 uncooked)
  • 1 pound ground meat
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (optional)
  • Fresh basil, chopped (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook rice and preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).

2. Wash peppers, cut off tops, and remove stem and seeds. If you’re using larger peppers, you can cut them in half and make double the amount of stuffed peppers by using both halves (just be sure to make more stuffing).

*Note: The parts of the pepper I didn’t use but that were still edible, I sliced up and used for potatoes, peppers, and eggs the next day.

3. Bring pot of water to a boil and drop peppers in, parboiling them for a few minutes. Remove from water, pat dry, and set aside to cool.

4. While peppers are parboiling, prepare stuffing by mixing together rice, meat, and parsley (cheese and/or basil) in a medium bowl.

5. Put some tomato sauce in a small baking dish so the bottom is lightly covered.

6. Sprinkle each pepper shell with salt and then stuff them with mixture and set in baking dish.

7. Cover peppers with rest of sauce and cover dish with foil.

8. Bake in oven for about 45 minutes to an hour or until the meat inside is cooked.

9. If you’ve made enough sauce you can serve pasta with the sauce and then the pepper as a second dish or simply serve the peppers by themselves with crusty Italian bread.

Inside of a stuffed pepper and friends on Flickr

Buon appetito!

12 Beans of Wisdom to “What’s Cooking Wednesday: Stuffed Peppers”
  1. Gil

    Definitely one of the foods that was protested by all four of us kids when we were still kids. I now like them even though they breed serious heartburn! I’ll have to show my wife your recipe to see how it compares to the one she uses.

    Hah, for some reason, they don’t give me heartburn here…please let me know what your wife’s verdict is 🙂

  2. 05.06.2009

    This looks absolutely amazing and sounds delicious. I have always loved stuffed peppers, but I don’t remember my mom making them too often. When I was a bit older, then I started making them myself with rice, peas and ground meat. I never topped it with sauce, though – only mozzarella. I will have to try this version. It looks very quick and easy to make. Thanks for sharing!

    Rosa’s last blog post..We Found a House in Buxtehude!

    Sounds like you made stuffed pepper/arancini combos…YUM!

  3. joanne at frutto della passione

    I enjoy stuffed peppers now matter what’s in them or on them! The nice thing about them is that the recipe(s) can easily be modified to feed 1 or 21 and it can be tweaked to feed carnivores, vegetarians and vegans alike.

    joanne at frutto della passione’s last blog post..Amatriciana

    So true, Joanne! I’m generally a fan of stuffed things…I love mixing different flavors together when I’m eating, so all the better when it’s already done for me in the dish 😉

  4. Scicchi

    This is *exactly* what was on our menu tonight! Crazy!

    I ate them as a kid…sort of. I’d only eat the “meatball” inside and leave the pepper for someone else 🙂

    And our recipe is virtually identical to yours. Go figure! Though I’m sure your peppers were cheaper. Mine were about $1.50 a piece! I can’t wait for summer.

    Too funny! And yes, I was an “inside” eater as well…also with pigeons. I know you know what I mean 😉

  5. 05.06.2009

    Stuffed peppers here are made without the meat – just bread, egg and cheese, then sauteed and cooked in sauce on the stove. At least that’s how O’s mom makes them. Yours look yummy too!

    Mary’s last blog post..First Blood

    Yup, that’s pretty much how P’s mom makes them, only the sauce seems to be optional (I prefer them in sauce as I love that tomato and pepper mix) 🙂

  6. 05.06.2009

    Yummy! I so agree with you about the readiness of taste buds – I missed out on a ton of great foods (especially vegetables) when I was a kid, just because stuff didn’t work for me. The list is endless and includes stuffed peppers, asparagus, salad dressing, any juice with pulp and many other things.

    Hah, we have a lot in common on that list (except I think I always loved salad dressing) 😉

  7. 05.06.2009

    I like them all. Greek ones with rice and loads of oil, meaty USian ones, cous cous ones, bread-based stuffing, lamb, beef, pork, sausage… is there one in that list you wouldn’t eat? Not me…

    Judith in Umbria’s last blog post..Shopping America

    Me neither, Judith. I just love stuffed peppers no matter how you stuff ’em 😉

  8. 05.06.2009

    Oh I love anything and everything stuffed. These stuffed pepper look so delicious, and love the vibrant color too.

    elra’s last blog post..Danish Pastry, A quick and Easy Method.

    I love the colors too; if I had found some green ones, they’d be mixed in there too 🙂

  9. 05.06.2009

    Gosh Michelle, I haven’t had these in YEARS, but thanks for the reminder. I know what we’re having tomorrow.

    Minnie’s last blog post..“How DID Y’All Meet?” Part XIX

    I hadn’t had them in years either! I’m so glad I made them 🙂

  10. I have made stuffed peppers with sausage but never suppresatta. Mmm….

    Our motto around here is that suppressata goes with everything 😉

  11. 05.07.2009

    Do you just leave out the meat if you make them vegetarian style? My mom used to make them kind of mexican style with blackbeans and rice and melted cheese. Very yum.

    Yours look great!

    Deidre’s last blog post..Date number 5 – Mr. Slurpee style. Alternate title: Environmental guilt

    Yes you can certainly just leave out the meat; you could add more veggies too 🙂

  12. 05.09.2009

    One of my favorite dishes from childhood that I still love making today. Mom used to make them with meat and rice stuffing- but since I have a *veggie* in the house- I also found a delicious verison stuffed with lentils!! Both are delish- thanks for sharing your recipe!!

    My Melange’s last blog post..Foodie French Friday: Pain Poilâne

Michelle FabioMichelle Fabio is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer living in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy and savoring simplicity one sip at a time. 

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