Wow the weekend passes so quickly! You blink and it’s simply gone! It seems like just a few minutes ago it was Friday afternoon and now bam it’s Monday morning! Where did the time go? I’ll tell you…It went to house cleaning and lawn mowing and laundry and errands and generally boring stuff! So let’s not talk about it and move on to the peppers shall we?
Stuffed peppers…I’ve heard horror stories about them and I must say I’ve never actually tried your traditional stuffed pepper, nor have I actually had a chance, and these stuffed peppers are most definitely not what most people are used to! I also made some Stuffed Mediterranean Peppers last year and they weren’t exactly what you would call traditional either, but that is not necessarily a bad thing!
Traditionally (From what I understand…Again I’ve never eaten a stuffed pepper) stuffed peppers involve some form of tomato sauce, maybe some onion, possibly some rice, perhaps some ground beef and seasonings. Sounds good, but I wanted to take it a step further. I decided to cut out the tomato and meat, add in risotto instead of regular rice, all while tossing in some cheese and giving them a spicy kick. What resulted was fabulous and if you like things a little spicy then these are the stuffed peppers for you!
What You’ll Need:
Extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
4-5 mushrooms, chopped
A pinch of sea salt
2-3 cups of baby spinach leaves, chopped
1 cup of arborio rice
Freshly ground black pepper
A generous pinch of cayenne pepper (Note: If you’re not a fan of spicy use less or omit this. If you like spice add more!)
1 quart of broth, plus more if needed (Note: Chicken or vegetable will work.)
1/4 a pound of queso blanco
2 ounces of goat cheese
In a large skillet sautÃ© onion and mushroom with a pinch of sea salt until tender. Add chopped spinach and cook for 2-3 minutes until spinach is wilted. Add arborio rice and cook for a minute or two, then add black pepper and cayenne pepper and give a stir to mix. Add broth and cook, stirring occasionally until arborio rice is tender.
You may need to add more liquid. I usually use broth at first and then if I need to add more I add water instead. If the liquid has absorbed, but the arborio rice is still stiff add more water 1 cup at a time. Sometimes you may not need to add liquid at all, other times you may need to add liquid 3 or 4 additional times. I’m not sure why this is, but I suspect it is much like flour and has to do with humidity.
While the arborio rice is cooking, cut the tops off of bell peppers and remove the seeds and ribs. (Note: This mixture will fill 6-10 peppers depending on what size they are. I used four, three green and one chocolate, and had some filling left over.) Set aside.
Once the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed remove from heat and stir in cheese until mostly melted. Let sit for about 5 minutes to rest.
Preheat oven to 425 F.
Stuff each pepper with filling until it is completely filled and place the top of the pepper back on. Place in a baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray or brushed with olive oil. Baked for 10-15 minutes until peppers are soft. Serve immediately.
Notes: This filling mixture is fabulous all on its own if you don’t want to stuff peppers. This filling would also be good to stuff mushrooms.