Thursday, September 27, 2012

Orzo-Stuffed Cubanelle Peppers (and Tomatoes)

Remember when I met Mary Ann Esposito?

Well, a few nights after I met her, I stumbled across a recipe for her stuffed cubanelle peppers. I was looking for creative ways to use up the final produce from our summer CSA, and I already had most of the ingredients her recipe called for. Although her recipe suggested farro, though, I went for the cheaper alternative: orzo.

Side note: I only had two cubanelle peppers on hand – plus one tomato – so I ended up stuffing the tomato with the remaining orzo mixture. Let’s just say the tomatoes turned out just as delicious as the peppers (I just cooked the tomatoes for about 15 minutes less).

Orzo-Stuffed Cubanelle Peppers
Yields: 2-3 stuffed peppers
Adapted from Ciao Italia
-1/2 cup orzo
-1 1/2 cups vegetable broth (or water)
-1 egg
-1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
-1 small clove garlic, minced
-1 tbsp. dried parsley
-Crushed red pepper, for heat
-Black pepper, to taste
-1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
-2-3 cubanelle peppers

1.) Cover the orzo with the broth or water in a medium saucepan. Bring the pot to a boil, lower the heat to simmer, cover the pot and let the orzo cook until most of the broth is absorbed and the orzo is tender.
2.) Drain the orzo in a colander and transfer it to a medium size bowl. Stir in the egg, most of the cheese, garlic, parsley, crushed red pepper, black pepper, and half of the oil. Set aside.
3.) Cut down 1/2 inch off the stem tops of the peppers and set aside. Tap out the seeds in the peppers or use a small spoon to remove and discard them.
4.) Fill the peppers with some of the orzo mixture, but do not over-pack them; otherwise, they may split while baking. Make a small incision on the side of each pepper with a small knife to allow steam to escape while baking.
5.) Brush a medium-size casserole dish with the remaining olive oil and place the peppers in a single layer in the dish. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle the remaining cheese over the peppers and bake 5 minutes longer. Serve hot.

The end result was filling, cheesy stuffed peppers (and a tomato). I wished the filling had a bit more flavor – adding chopped up vegetarian sausage or peppers and onions would have been ideal. However, for a quick, satisfying weeknight dinner, these stuffed, local vegetables did the trick.

What famous chefs inspire you in the kitchen? My other culinary idols include Ina Garten and Anthony Bourdain (who I've interviewed before!). 


  1. That orzo stuffing sounds delicious! Thomas Keller definitely inspires me, as well as Joanne Chang and the guys from Baked.

  2. The stuffing really does sound delicious. I love stuffed tomatoes!