I am an Italian food fanatic. Often inspired from menu items and altering them for accessible ingredients and ease in the kitchen is one thing I do best. I also like reinventing classics. The Mexican stuffed pepper is a classic but hardly strikes my fancy. My Italian stuffed Roasted Reds certainly would not win a top award for creativity but they would win a prize for satisfying both simple and scrumptious supper requisites.
Italian Stuffed Roasted Reds
(My simple and relatively healthy recipe)
4 large red bell peppers
2 medium yellow onions, sliced thin
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cloves shallot, sliced thin
3/4 cup EVOO
3 links sweet Italian sausage separated from the casings (I use turkey Italian sausage-lean variation)
3/4 cup part skim Ricotta cheese
2/3 cup diced tomatoes (can is fine)
1-2 cups cooked orzo (depending on your carb preference)
1/2 cup shredded Italian blend cheese
8 large fresh basil leaves cut in chiffonade strips
S&P to taste
Crushed Red pepper for desired spiciness (not necessary)
*Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place 4 large red bell peppers in a pan and brush EVOO over all sides of the peppers. Every 5 minutes, turn peppers over to new side with tongs.
*Once the peppers are in the oven, bring water to a boil for the orzo. Add orzo and cook until just al dente (firm to the bite).
*While water is heating up for the orzo, add ¼ cup EVOO to a small sauté pan. Heat to medium high heat and then add onions and shallots. Stir sporadically. Continue adding the rest of EVOO gradually as needed until onions caramelized (very softened and golden brown). Add minced garlic to onions during the last minute of cooking time.
*Pull red peppers from the oven and let cool.
*In a medium sauté pan cook Italian turkey sausage until no longer pink. To this pan, add the caramelized onions/garlic. Then add the cooked (drained) orzo, diced tomatoes, ricotta cheese and half of the basil. Salt and pepper and stir the ingredients until combined.
*With a paring knife, slowly cut the tops of the red peppers off and put to the side. Spoon the sausage/orzo mixture into each pepper until completely stuffed.
*Sprinkle with shredded Italian blend cheese on top of each pepper.
*Return the stuffed peppers to the oven for 10 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown.
Take stuffed peppers out and top with remaining fresh basil.