Friday, April 30, 2010

Sausage Stuffed Bell Peppers with Basil and Sundried Tomatoes

These are for the times when you want to eat 'healthy' but only in the not-calling-out-for-pizza sense of the word. Residual 1990's fat gram counting guilt aside, these are damned delicious. Pour yourself a glass of something cold and zingy and sit down to dinner.

As for you still-in-the-'90's set (you may recognize me - I visit from time to time), feel free to substitute chicken sausage for the pork. Just shake in a hefty pour of red pepper flakes as you mix up the filling and you won't be missing a thing.

Sausage Stuffed Bell Peppers with Basil and Sundried Tomatoes
* These can be served as a main dish (two per person) or as an appetizer or side dish. Adjust your menu accordingly.

2 large bell peppers or 3 medium, cut in half lengthwise and cored and deseeded

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
1/2 cup ricotta cheese (part skim is fine)
pinch sea salt
few cracks fresh black pepper
zest of 1/2 large lemon (or whole small)

dash olive oil
1 large shallot, minced
2 hot Italian pork sausage links, skin removed and broken up with your fingers or spoon
pinch sea salt
fresh cracked pepper
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds (or more if you really want that licorice tang)
grated nutmeg
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped sundried tomatoes
handful of basil leaves, chopped

Preheat oven to 375.

In a large bowl, mix the parmesan, ricotta, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat up a dash of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over low/medium heat. Add in the shallots and saute for 1 minute. Add in the sausage, breaking up with your spoon or fingers as you add it in into large chunks. Season with salt and pepper and cook, continuing to gently break up as it browns into smaller bits (easier for stuffing) and adding in the dash of oil when the bottom of your pan dries out too much. After it's browned about halfway, add in the fennel seeds and nutmeg. Once brown, add in the minced garlic and cook an additional minute, stirring frequently to keep the delicate garlic from burning.

Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes, then add in the entire mixture to the cheese mixture. Add in the sundried tomatoes and basil and stir well.

Stuff the peppers, pushing down to make sure your getting into all the crevices. Once stuffed, drizzle lightly with a smidge of olive oil over the top, and bake for 22 minutes, or until the tops are just brown and the sides of the peppers have begun to wilt and soften.


Jenn said...

I think we really are food soul mates! LOL My goodness how I love stuffed peppers. I just made stuffed jalapenos the other day. Ok, not exactly the same, but still, they were peppers stuffed with yummy goodness! These look beautiful and so very delicious!

Velva said...

Now, this is what I call stuffed peppers. Delicious.
I love stuffed peppers or almost any kind of stuffed vegetables ( e.g. eggplant, squashes).

Karen said...

These look and sound so good. I love the colorful peppers.