Stuffed Baby Bell Peppers Recipe
Stuffed Baby Bell Peppers

by Mira Honeycutt (Zester Daily)

In the midst of Napa Valley's palatial wineries, Katie's Garden, at Trefethen Family Vineyards, is a sanctuary. On a recent visit, the staff prepared stuffed bell peppers were served with the 2013 Merlot.

Sitting on the tree-shaded patio overlooking Katie's garden, the tourist mecca that is today's Napa Valley seems -- if only for a moment -- a million miles away.

Recipe by Robin Schneider, graphic designer at Trefethen Family Vineyards

Stuffed Baby Bell Peppers Recipe

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 pound mild Italian sausage
1/2 cup zucchini, diced small, or 1 cup chopped spinach
1 garlic clove, pressed or finely minced
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1/2 cup cooked jasmine rice
1/2 cup cooked three-lentil medley or your favorite lentil
1/2 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
Salt to taste
18 to 20 baby bell peppers, raw
2 cups Michael Chiarello's Marinara Sauce (see recipe below)

Stuffed Baby Bell Peppers Recipe Directions

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 350 F.

2. Heat olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the sausage, breaking it up into smaller pieces and cooking until almost done. Next add the zucchini and cook until just soft, then stir in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.

3. Remove skillet from the heat and add parsley, rice, lentils, Monterey jack cheese and half the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Toss lightly until well mixed, then add salt to taste.

4. Cut the tops off the peppers and remove the membranes and seeds. Stuff the peppers lightly to the top with the rice and sausage mixture.

5. Place a small amount of marinara sauce on the bottom of a 10-inch casserole dish, and place the peppers side by side in one layer. Top with remaining marinara sauce. Cover and place in oven.

6. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Check the softness of the peppers with a sharp knife. When they are just getting soft, uncover and cook another 5 to 10 minutes.

7. Remove from the oven and top the peppers with the remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Tip: These taste even better when reheated the next day.

Michael Chiarello's Marinara Sauce

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes
Yield: 4 cups
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup onion, minced
Half a bunch of fresh Italian parsley leaves, chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
4 cups fresh tomato puree
1 large fresh basil stem with leaves removed
Sea salt, preferably gray salt
Pinch of baking soda or sugar, if needed

Stuffed Baby Bell Peppers Recipe Directions

1. Heat the olive oil in a large, non-reactive pot over moderate heat.

2. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the parsley and garlic and cook briefly to release their fragrance. Add the tomatoes, basil and salt.

3. Simmer briskly until reduced to a sauce-like consistency, stirring occasionally so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot. The timing will depend on the ripeness and meatiness of your tomatoes and the size of your pot. If the sauce thickens too much before the flavors have developed, add a little water and continue cooking.

4. Taste and adjust the seasoning. If the sauce tastes too acidic, add a pinch of baking soda and cook for 5 more minutes. If it needs a touch of sweetness, add a pinch of sugar and cook for 5 more minutes. Remove the basil stem before serving.

Tip: You can triple this recipe and stash it in the freezer to have on hand for quick meals.


Shaved Zucchini with Burrata Cheese and Calabrian Chili Paste

Napa Winery's Garden, A Year-Round Place Of Culinary Inspiration

© Zester Daily and Reuters Media Express


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Stuffed Baby Bell Peppers Recipe

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