get stuffed with these peppers- you won't be sorry! the simplicity of the mildly spicy pepper, tender meat filling, and the sweet cheese topping is a delectable mix. this recipe will become a favorite for all seasons, weather, and occasions!
8 medium-large banana peppers
1/2 lb ground pork
1/2 lb ground veal
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, small diced (about 1/2 cup)
6 oz can tomato paste
1 cup water
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tbs parmesan cheese
tsp fresh basil, chopped
tsp fresh oregano, chopped
8 oz (1 cup) ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
extra virgin olive oil
-in a large pan over medium-low heat, warm 2 tsp olive oil and add garlic and onion
-cook for about 7-10 minutes until garlic and onions are soft and transparent
-add pork and veal, and continue cooking until meat is cooked through, about 10-15 minutes
-drain grease from meat mixture
-add tomato paste and 1 cup of water, stir until meat is coated
-season mixture with salt, pepper, sugar, pepper flakes, parmesan cheese, basil, and oregano
-cut off the stems of the peppers and insert a knife into the peppers to remove the seeds and ribs -cut the peppers lengthwise on one side, so it opens like an envelope (do NOT cut peppers in half!)
-working through the cut in the pepper, remove any additional seeds and ribs
-open up a pepper, and fill it with about 1/2 cup of the meat mixture
-continue with each additional pepper, placing them in a 9”x13” casserole dish
-cover each stuffed pepper with 2 tbs each ricotta cheese
-sprinkle about 1 tbs of mozzarella cheese on top of each pepper
-place in a 375 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes, or until stuffing is hot and bubbly, and cheese just starts to brown
-let cool, serve, and enjoy!
serves approximately 4
these peppers were inspired by a fabulous version of stuffed banana peppers i had from Beau’s Grill in fairlawn, ohio
TIPS and ADAPTATIONS:
-instead of the pork/veal meat, you can use: 1 lb ‘meatloaf mix’ (combo of ground pork,veal, and beef), 1 lb ground italian sausage (sweet or spicy), or 1 lb of pork, veal, OR beef. to lighten up the dish- try it with ground chicken or turkey!
-cubanelle peppers are a great substitute for banana peppers, and they’re generally milder too (use cubanelles and skip the red pepper flakes for a non-spicy version)
-make it dairy free: skip the cheeses, and add a breadcrumb gremolita instead!
(for gremolita: mix 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs, 1 tbs olive oil, 1/2 tsp chopped basil, and 1/2 tsp chopped oregano and sprinkle 1 tbs of mixture on each pepper. bake as normal.)
-for a cow’s milk free meal, try: sheep’s milk ricotta, buffalo mozzarella, and [sheep’s milk] manchego cheese
-make it in advance; make it up to 24 hours before you need to eat it!
-leftovers? chop up the pepper and filling and put it over pasta or polenta- yum!