Italian Style Stuffed Red Peppers

Utter the words red peppers and automatically, kids snicker and whine, convinced their mouths will be set on fire at the dinner table.
Most stuffed pepper recipes don’t have enough ingredients my kids really like so I decided to invent one myself.  My son loves Orzo.  Red peppers were on sale recently and they are the foundation for this recipe.  It is a complete meal, low in fat, plenty of flavor and light on meat.  The cost is about $2.80 per person and takes less than an hour to prepare.
6 red bell peppers, washed, seeded, drained and cut horizontally at about 1/3 from top
1 box of orzo pasta, cooked al dente, following box instructions
3 Italian sausages or about ½ pound of bulk Italian sausage
1 finely chopped onion
1 large carrot, chopped uniformly
4 cloves of garlic minced
1 can of diced tomatoes (drained)
1 can of tomato sauce
1+ tsp dried oregano
1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1 T. chopped parsley (basil would work too, this is optional)
salt and pepper
Wash and prep the peppers, cook the orzo.  In a large skillet, on medium heat, cook the sausage, breaking it with the side of the spoon.  Remove from skillet.  Add the onion and carrot in the same pan (add some olive oil, if needed), cook for 5 minutes or so, add the garlic and oregano, cook for one minute, return the meat to the pan and put in the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes, check seasonings.
Preheat oven to 325.
Simmer for 10 minutes or so while the pasta is cooking.  Remove from heat.  Add drained orzo, combine thoroughly with the parmesan cheese and parsley.
Spoon the pasta mixture into the peppers; sprinkle a bit of parmesan cheese before putting the tops on the stuffed peppers. 
Bake in a lasagna pan for 30 minutes.  (light cooking spray on the pan keeps from sticking)
Let them rest for 5 minutes before serving.
The next time I make this, I will remove the skin on the peppers before stuffing them. 
You’ll have extra orzo mixture which makes a good lunch the next day.


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