I was in the grocery store the other day and they had on display this big beautiful bag of colored peppers. How could I not stuff them? I remember as a child, I loathed stuffed bell peppers…so very glad my tastes have changed since then. I opted to stuff with hot sausage. By all means, you can substitute with ground beef or even pork. I always buy the hot sausage in the casing, then just remove. I think it has so much more flavor than bulk. This recipe is very similar to my cubanelle peppers. Click here for recipe! I also used my own homemade tomato sauce. You can use your own, or your favorite jarred sauce. This recipe makes eight generously stuff peppers.
In the wake of all that is happening with the virus, I made a few extra stuffed bell peppers to share with my elderly neighbor and an elderly couple who are trying to stay in to avoid exposure. You can cut the recipe in half if you wish, or just freeze the leftovers (if there are any…haha). Speaking of the virus…I created a Facebook group yesterday called Virtual Chopped. Click here to join. I wanted a place where all of us can share ideas of how we can use our pantry staples to create meals. I also think it’s necessary to be able to give others ideas of what items they should keep in their pantries. I am very concerned about those who cannot afford to spend money on stockpiling groceries, or those who need help in the kitchen during this time. Well…my hope is, is that this practice of cooking more at home, will continue once we all get back to living a “normal” existence.
I did not precook my peppers before I stuffed them. I actually like to maintain the integrity of the peppers and that little bit of crunch. Don’t get me wrong, they did cook, but still had that little bite. You can place them in the oven at 350 degrees prior to stuffing for about 10 to 15 minutes, if you wish. You could also wrap them in a wet paper towel and place in the microwave for a minute or so. Not my jam, but feel free to do so.
You all know by now, how much I love cooking, and even baking in cast iron. Per usual I used my 12″ Lodge Cast Iron pan to bake these beauties. Talk about a staple for your kitchen, this is it! Click here. If you do not have a cast iron pan on hand, just use an oven-safe baking dish or casserole pan.
Heat up a large skillet or pot to medium. Remove the sausage from the casings and start browning. Crumble so that you do not have big pieces of sausage in the finished stuffing. As the sausage is browning, prepare your peppers. Cut off the tops and clean out the ribs and seeds. I did want to make mine look pretty, so I made sure that when I cut off the top, they were basically the same height when I placed them into the pan. Also, if any of your peppers are “leaning,” just shave a touch off of its bottom.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Once the sausage is almost fully browned, add in the minced garlic, shallots and two tablespoons of the fresh chopped parsley. Cook for just a few minutes. Mix in the prepared rice and two cups of the tomato sauce.
Line the bottom of the cast iron pan or casserole dish with the remaining tomato sauce. Place peppers in pan or baking dish. Place peppers. Fill the bottom of each pepper with a bit of the shredded mozzarella. Generously fill each pepper with the sausage mixture. I packed mine in there and mounded on top. You should use almost all of the mixture. Cover and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
Remove stuffed bell peppers from oven. Turn on the broiler. Top with the remaining shredded mozzarella. Place under broiler until cheese is melty and brown. Garnish with the remaining chopped parsley. You can also top with a touch more sauce. Serve alone or with a side salad. ENJOY!