These stuffed baby peppers should come with a warning. They're insanely addictive. They're like beautifully colored little bites of sweet and savory heaven. Don't say I didn't warn you!
Before I proceeded to sit on my hands, I swallowed down eight of them. Yes, eight! The entire time I was trying to convince myself that I was doing the right thing. After all, they are stuffed veggies, right? And, I was getting in at least three of the five food groups, right? Surely my body would benefit these glorious ingredients.
Stuffed Baby Peppers
Adapted from Giada at Home
Serves 4 to 6
Vegetable oil cooking spray
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, finely chopped (I used diced prosciutto)
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup frozen petite peas, thawed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
24 (2- to 3-inch long) sweet baby peppers (SEE NOTE)
Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with vegetable oil cooking spray. Set aside.
In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta (or prosciutto) and cook, stirring frequently, until brown and crispy, 5-7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta (prosciutto) and drain on paper towels. Add the onion to the pan and cook until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
In a medium bowl, combine the onion, pancetta (prociutto), cheeses, and peas. Season with salt and pepper.
Using a paring knife, cut 1/2 inch from the stem end of the pepper. Remove the seeds and veins. Using a small dessert spoon, fill each pepper with the cheese mixture. Place the filled peppers on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes, until the peppers begin to soften and the cheese is warmed through. Cool for 10 minutes.
Arrange the peppers on a platter and serve.
Note: I found the mini sweet baby peppers at my local Meijer store. They were fairly inexpensive. After reading the reviews for this recipe on the Food Network, it appears that many people were able to find the mini peppers for a good price at their local Costco. If you cannot find the little mini peppers, DO NOT let this stop you from making this recipe. It's really too good to pass up. Giada includes this note in her book for those who want to make this an entree and serve the filling in full-sized bell peppers.
To serve as an entree portion, double the filling, stuff it into 4 full-sized bell peppers, and bake at 350F for 1 hour, covering with foil if they brown too much, until the peppers are just starting to collapse.
Notes/Results: These stuffed peppers are really something special! I will definitely be making them again and will keep them in mind for parties, etc. I was hoping to have some leftover, but we polished them off in record time. This is a fabulous recipe!
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