“Stuffed Peppers” from “Jamie Cooks Italy”

Stuffed peppers were a staple in our 1970s/80s American household. You’d take bell pepper, stuff them with rice, beef mince, tomatoes and cheese. I loved, and still love, them. My husband Tim does not feel the same fondness for them.

So when I told him I was making stuffed peppers for dinner, he was less than enthusiastic. But once he tasted them, he changed his mind. The reason? These are Stuffed Peppers Extraordinaire, which are stuffed not with the usual, but with pork mince, ‘nduja, fennel seeds and breadcrumbs, then topped with ricotta cheese.

Like I said, Stuffed Peppers Extraordinaire.

Once again, Jamie is on to a winner in this book. These were absolutely delicious, and I could see making these often.

However, two things to note: First, Jamie advised roasting the red peppers for 30 minutes and I feared they would absolutely collapse after that much time (and also, I was short on time), so I roasted the peppers for 15 minutes to get them cooked, but not so cooked that they wouldn’t hold the filling. As you then roast the peppers once stuffed for another 30 minutes, I figured it would be fine, and it was. Second, he calls for “crumbly ricotta cheese”. I was unsure what he meant by that, so after conferring with my trusty cheesemonger, I drained regular ricotta over a cheesecloth in the frig for a few hours before cooking, so it would be crumbly. That seemed to work.

Also, here’s a top tip: after the peppers were done roasting, there was a beautiful oil made up of the pork and ‘nduja in the pan. I took the rocket we were going to have with the peppers and tossed it in it for a delicious dressing. Yum.

All in all, another good dinner.

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“Stuffed Peppers” from “Jamie Cooks Italy”

“Stuffed Peppers with Sausage, Herbs and Torn Bread” from “Bill’s Italian Food”

Peter: This vegetarian dish greatly benefits from the addition of sausage meat.

Anna: Not a grain of rice in sight! It’s all sausage with a couple of tomatoes and some yummy herbs mixed in. I liked the torn bread that you stick in at the end to soak up all the juices.

Peter: It was surprisingly filling. What’s not to like?

Anna: I appreciated the fact that they were really quick to prepare. I could do them ahead of time and leave you to stick them in the oven while I went for a run. For that reason we’ll be having them again, for sure.

“Stuffed Peppers with Sausage, Herbs and Torn Bread” from “Bill’s Italian Food”