Stuffed peppers have always been a staple around our house and I love the fact that you get a whole meal in one dish. This recipe came about through a lot of trial and error and an attempt to create a stuffed pepper that didn’t include ground beef as most of ours had in the past. I love the pancetta in this recipe because it gives the filling a kick of salt and a little chewiness, in addition to the gooey goodness that is the rest of the filling. With these peppers I usually throw together a cesar salad and just heat up a little bit of bread. No other sides necessary! Hope you enjoy! MEB
6 medium green bell peppers with square bases
1 1/3 cup white sticky rice
2 cups water
4 TBS olive oil
3 large carrots (about 2 cups) peeled and diced
2 5 oz packages diced pancetta
4 large garlic cloves minced
1 medium yellow onion diced
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 cup canned tomato sauce
12 -14 large basil leaves chopped
garlic powder to taste
Salt & pepper to taste
1 cup finely grated Parmesan
- Cut the tops off the bell peppers and clean out the insides. Some people save the tops for serving but I just throw them away.
- Pre-heat your oven to 450 and place the diced pancetta onto a baking sheet in a single layer.
- Once the oven is heated, place the pancetta in the oven for about 12 minutes or until the pancetta is a couple of shades darker and chewy. Flip the pancetta halfway through cooking.
- Turn the pancetta out onto a plate that is lined with paper towels and put another paper towel over the top to soak up the grease.
- Put the sticky rice into a medium sauce pan and rinse thoroughly, at least 2-3 times.
- Add 2 cups of water to the pan and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and cover, simmering for about 20 minutes
- While the rice and pancetta are cooking, clean and dice the carrots. You want them to be about the same thickness and small enough to be bite-size.
- Heat a couple of TBS olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the carrots and season with a little salt, pepper and garlic powder.
- Let the carrots cook for a few minutes until they are tender, stirring periodically. Set aside.
- In a large pot, heat a couple TBS olive oil over medium heat and add the garlic and onions cooking until the garlic is smelling amazing and the onions are transparent.
- Add in a can of diced tomatoes and half of a can of tomato sauce and stir to combine.
- After letting simmer just a few minutes, add in the basil and a dash of salt and pepper and let simmer a few more minutes. Remove from heat.
- To the tomato sauce add the cooked rice, cooked pancetta, cooked carrots and the grated parmesan. Stir to combine until the rice is coated and the cheese is melted.
- Using a large spoon fill each of the cleaned bell peppers with the filling and place them in a casserole pan filled with about a ½ inch of water. This will keep the peppers from burning.
- Once all six are filled, cover the pan with foil and place in an oven heated to 350.
- Cook for 1 hour or until the peppers are tender and easy to slice through with a butter knife. You want them to still have a little bite to them and not be so cooked that they skins are falling off. That is icky!
- Remove from the over and let cool for a few minutes before serving. You can put a little bit of fresh grated parmesan on top and basil if you like a little pretty.
*If you don’t need all 6, then stop the process after stuffing the uncooked peppers and place them into a freezer bag, making sure that they are standing up. They freeze great and then can just be taken out of the freezer and cooked in the oven at a later date. This is a great dinner to have on hand. If frozen, the peppers take about 1 hour 30 minutes to cook.
**Also, there will probably be some stuffing left over. This recipe could safely make 7 peppers depending on the size of the peppers. I usually save the left over stuffing in the fridge and Greg eats it with pita bread or tortillas for lunch.