Friday, March 26, 2010

Baked Red Peppers Stuffed with Italian Sausage

(This picture is before they were cooked...sorry I don't have an after picture.)

Baked Red Peppers Stuffed with Italian Sausage
4 Red Bell Peppers
4 Ripe Roma Tomatoes
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
1 Small Onion, Diced
1 Celery Stalk, Trimmed and Diced
4 Fresh Mild Italian Sausages, about 1 lb
8 Black Olives (Such as Kalamata, Gaeta, or Spanish), Pitted and Chopped
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
1 Cup Fresh Bread Crumbs
1 Cup Hot Tap Water

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees. Carefully cut each bell pepper in half lengthwise. Remove the stem, being careful not to cut into the flesh. Remove the seeds and ribs. Fill a large saucepan three-fourths full of water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the pepper halves, bring the water back to a boil and parboil (blanching) for 4-5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pepper halves to a colander to drain. Keep the water at a boil to peel the tomatoes. Core and peel the tomatoes. Cut in half crosswise and carefully squeeze out the seeds. Chop the tomatoes coarsely and set aside. In a large sauté pan or frying pan over medium-low heat, warm the butter or olive oil. Add the onion and sauté stirring, until translucent, 4-5 minutes. Add the celery and sauté until starting to soften, another 2-3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the onion and celery to a plate. Set aside. Add the crumbled sausage to the pan and sauté over medium heat, turning several times, until lightly browned, 8-10 minutes. Return the onion mixture to the pan along with the tomatoes. Mix together and continue to cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes to blend the flavors. Stir in the olives and season to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange the pepper halves, cut side up, in a baking dish in which they just fit comfortably in a single layer. Spoon the sausage mixture into the peppers, dividing it evenly. Top evenly with the bread crumbs. Add the hot water to the dish. Bake, uncovered, until the crumbs are golden and the mixture is bubbly, about 40 minutes. Using a slotted spatula, transfer to plate for serving.

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