Within the last two weeks I’ve seen Giada make stuffed baby peppers - twice, bookmarked the recipe on my home AND work computers, and emailed it to myself for good measure.
Since Labor Day weekend means a house full of
taste-testing guinea-pigs people to feed, I
arrived at the beach house with a Costco bag of tri-color baby bell peppers
in-tow. Of course, the cookbook
holding the very recipe I was practically reciting in my sleep was sitting on
the coffee table. Weird and totally trivial coincidences, you get me every
To lighten the original recipe up a bit, I swapped part skim ricotta for full fat, and cut it with some low fat cream cheese to create a silkier consistency. Peas got the boot because they’re the devil, prosciutto replaced pancetta because I had it on hand, and garlic and parsley were added because I couldn't think of a reason not to.
Tending to 40 miniature peppers is a slightly laborious process, so this is the perfect opportunity to involve a few sous-chefs (or your best friend who just drove 12 hours from Chicago and probably isn’t awake enough to wield a knife). For all of the gooey, cheesy rewards with less work, someone brilliantly suggested baking the filling in an ovenproof dish, then serving it with strips of normal-sized peppers and other veggies.
Leftover prosciutto? Perfect excuse to try this take on a Caprese salad.
[Original recipe from Food Network]
2 lbs (about 40) baby bell peppers
½ cup part skim ricotta cheese
½ cup low fat cream cheese
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Handful of flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped
¼ tsp pepper
1/8 tsp salt
½ medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
9 slices prosciutto
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cover a baking sheet with foil. Cut the tops off of the peppers, scrape out the ribs and seeds (if there are any), and place on the foiled pan.
Lightly coat the bottom of a medium skillet with olive oil, and place over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add a few slices of prosciutto, being carefull not to overlap. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until very crisp. Transfer first batch to paper towels to drain and repeat with remaining prosciutto.
After all of the prosciutto is cooked, drizzle the same pan with extra olive oil if it looks dry, and add the onion and garlic. Cook for 5-8 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix the three cheeses, parsley, salt and pepper. Add the cooked onions and garlic, and crumble in all of the cooked prosciutto. Mix well to combine.
Spoon the filling into one large or two small plastic bags, zip shut, and cut one corner off of each bag. The resulting hole should be just large enough so that the onions, parsley and prosciutto in the filling can fit through. Push the tip of the bag into a baby pepper, and squeeze the bag until the pepper is full of the cheese mixture. Repeat with all of the peppers.
Place baking sheet in the pre-heated oven and cook for about 15 minutes, until filling is warmed through and peppers are slightly softened.
When stuffed peppers are cool enough to handle, move to a platter and serve warm. If any of the filling leaked out during baking, push it back in with a spoon. Or eat it. Whichever.