Weeknight Stuffed Peppers

Sometimes on Mondays I can't help but feel like the universe owes me more weekend.  Did you ever think about that?  I realize that everyone else in the civilized world seems to be perfectly happy with the 5 day on/2 day off way of life, but for some reason I'm not always completely on board.  I'm 30, so I'm working on it.

Until then, for those days where my brain wants it to be Saturday even though my body is sitting in my cubicle, at least plans for dinner can be somewhat exotic and out of the ordinary. 

You know, kinda like my weekends lately, if wainscoting the dining room = exotic.  But you get my point.

For this I turned to Lidia Bastianich and her delicious stuffed peppers.  I came across this recipe while I was perusing one of my Mom's cookbooks, and since I just happened to pick up a pound of lean ground beef on mega sale at Whole Foods this week, this glorious and exotic Monday meal made its way to my table.

I adapted this recipe slightly from the original based on personal taste.  For instance, I used bell peppers instead of cubanelles because I like how the bell peppers stand up tall and can be filled easily.  I also used ground beef instead of ground veal/pork/beef mix because it tends to be on the healthier side, and since my beach vacation is coming up I feel a lot better choosing ingredients with the word "lean" in the name. 

So if your week is slow to get itself started, and the weekend is not yet in view, I hope this hearty meal helps you get into the swing of things. 

And if that doesn't work then all I can recommend for you is leftover Easter chocolate and a Jersey Shore marathon. 

Not that I've ever done that.  I may have just over-shared.

Meat Stuffed Peppers (Peperoni Imbottiti)
adapted from a recipe by Lidia Bastianich
Yields 4 servings

1/3 c Arborio rice
4-6 bell peppers (enough for 1 per person and 1 or 2 extra, in any color)
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 lb lean ground beef (I used 93% lean)
1 large egg
1/3 c grated Parmigiano cheese
3 tbs fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp oregano
3 c marinara

Cook the rice in a large saucepan of boiling, salted water until al dente, about 12 minutes.  Drain and allow to cool.

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Cut the stems from the peppers and scrape out the seeds and membranes with a spoon.  Heat 2 tbs of olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat.  Stir in the onions and cook until tender, about 3 minutes.  Add the garlic, and allow to cook an additional minute. Spoon onions into a large mixing bowl and allow to cool.

Add the ground beef, egg, grated cheese, parsley, oregano and cooked ric
e into the bowl with the onions.  Stir together until everyting is evenly blended.  Divide the filling amoung the peppers, to fill each one loosely, and place them in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.  Pour the tomato sauce over the peppers, enough to coat each pepper and the bottom of the baking dish. 

Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake until the peppers are tender and the filling is cooked through, about 30-40 minutes.  Remove and let stand before serving.


Heidi Szczepanski said...

Great recipe. Thanks for sharing.

Richard C. Lambert said...

day off way of life, but for some reason I'm not always completely on board. I'm 30, so I'm working on it.
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