Italian Stuffed Peppers

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Happy Friday! You’ve made it through the week! My apologies, as it’s been a while since my last post. I’ll attribute this defeat to the fact that I’ve re-entered the working world! Gone are my days of leisurely cooking on weekday afternoons. But, I promise I won’t let you down.

The numbing cold has officially made it’s way to Chicago, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to warm up anytime soon. What’s more perfect than hearty, healthy, Italian stuffed peppers on a night like last night?! Especially when you have a friend, with a professional camera, to cook and drink wine with! Most stuffed peppers I’ve tried have had a Mexican influence, often stuffed with black beans and rice. Italian stuffed peppers are easy and satisfying,  especially on blistery nights when all you want is an enormous bowl of pasta! I’ve included the recipe for the 30-minute spaghetti sauce (this is too easy to make to ever be purchased in a jar!) and the recipe for the stuffed peppers. Feel free to substitute the ground chicken with lean ground beef or turkey. Also, be creative. I love portobello mushrooms, but you can also add chopped zucchini or carrots.

This is an easy recipe and great for leftovers too.

Buon appetito!

Serves 4

Ingredients for spaghetti sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (balances out the acidity of the tomatoes)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Vidalia onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, finely chopped

Directions for spaghetti sauce:

Heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic, until soft. Add crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. Add sugar. Add fresh basil. Stir and simmer on low 25-30 minutes.

Ingredients for stuffed peppers:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground chicken
  • 1 Vidalia onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Dash red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup baby portobello mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
  • 4 green bell peppers
  • 1 cup marinara sauce (recipe included)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions for stuffed peppers:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute garlic and onion 6-8 minutes. Add mushrooms, cook until soft. Add ground chicken and red pepper flakes and cook through. Add parsley. Let cool 5-10 minutes.

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Add egg, breadcrumbs, half of the cheese, salt and pepper. Mix together. Cover the bottom of a baking dish with marinara sauce. Place the peppers upright in the dish. Stuff each with the ground chicken mixture. Top with a spoonful of marinara, and remaining cheese. Bake uncovered for 1 hour. Check the peppers halfway through. If the sauce seems to be drying up, add a little water.

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Remove from oven and let cool slightly.

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Special thanks to my girlfriend, Lily Duevel, for the incredible photos!

Adapted from: Linda’s Italian Table

 

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