Sunday, September 2, 2007

Orzo Stuffed Peppers

Tonight I decided to make Giada's Orzo Stuffed Peppers. It looked like the perfect summer meal and a fun way to update the usual stuffed pepper recipe. It was also a fairly easy recipe. This dish turned out really well. The only change I made was to dice some chicken sausage from Whole Foods and add it to the mix to make the meal a little more substantial. This recipe is so versatile. Fresh basil could easily be substituted for the mint and different meats such as ground turkey, cooked chicken or other sausages added. It would also be fun to switch up the cheeses to use a smoked cheese or mozzarella or different blend. This recipe would also be a good side dish with salmon.

Orzo Stuffed Peppers
Recipe Courtesy of Giada de Laurentis

1 (28-ounce) can Italian tomatoes
2 zucchini, grated
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
6 sweet bell peppers (red or yellow)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Pour the tomatoes into a large bowl and break apart using a pair of kitchen shears or your finger tips. Add the zucchini, mint, cheese, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.

Meanwhile, bring the chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the orzo and cook for 4 minutes. The orzo should be only partially cooked. Use a fine mesh sieve to transfer the orzo to the large bowl with the other vegetables. Stir the orzo into the vegetable mix to combine. Transfer the warm chicken broth to a 3-quart baking dish.

Slice the tops off the peppers and remove all ribs and seeds. Cut a very thin slice from the base to help the peppers stand up.

Place the peppers in the baking dish with the warm chicken broth. Spoon the orzo mixture into the peppers. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle the top of each pepper with cheese and continue baking until the cheese is golden, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, carefully transfer the orzo stuffed pepper to a serving plate.

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