This week’s markets were awash in vivid colour as peppers hit their seasonal peak in Ontario. I saw everything from mild poblanos to fiery hot habaneros but the most abundant were red bell and shepherd peppers. Shepherd peppers are more elongated than bell peppers but they taste very similar and are basically interchangeable in recipes.
Red peppers are just green peppers that have ripened. However, once they turn red, the peppers become much sweeter, making them ideal for stuffing with meat, cheese, rice, grains or seafood. This version was adapted from a recipe from an old issue of Bon Appétit magazine featuring the foods of Provence. Stuffed vegetables are very popular in the South of France and are an excellent way to use up extra peppers or zucchini.
The recipe calls for slicing the peppers lengthwise in half and hollowing them out, however, they can also be stuffed by slicing off the top and filling the entire pepper.
A note to vegetarians: Check back soon for a meatless version!
Stuffed Red Peppers
Serves 4 to 6
- 4 sweet or mild Italian sausages
- 1 small zucchini (about 1-1/2″ in diameter and about 6″ long)
- 1 small onion, minced
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 3/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 large red bell or shepherd peppers
- Rosemary sprigs to garnish (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove the casings from the sausages and place the meat in a large bowl (see Removing Sausage Casing for tips on how to do this efficiently).
- Trim the stem and end from the zucchini and grate it into the bowl using a box grater. Add the onion, garlic, herbs, breadcrumbs, egg and parmesan to the bowl.
- Using your hands, work the ingredients into the sausage meat until the mixture is thoroughly combined. Season with salt and pepper.
- Slice the red peppers lengthwise down the middle. Trim out the stem and any seeds and ribs.
- Spoon the sausage mixture into each pepper half. Place on a baking sheet or in a shallow pan and bake for 45 minutes or until the tops are beginning to brown. Garnish with rosemary sprigs if desired.
Bon Appétit and Enjoy!