I fell in love with stuffed peppers while on my honeymoon in Greece. My Yanni’s Yaya would spend a whole day preparing the divine little packages of deliciousness. The kitchen would fill up with the wonderful aroma of herbs and vegetables and tantalize my senses until I thought that I could take it no longer.
Let me tell you, when those beautiful stuffed vegetables appeared from out of the oven, we were right there fork in hand, ready to dig into those perfect little pepper packages faster than you can sneeze.
I could live on stuffed vegetables alone. Forever.
The other night I had a hankering for my beloved stuffed vegetables but didn’t have the time for the whole shebang so I made my favorite standby recipe, orzo stuffed peppers. These are simple, delicious and nutritious! They are the perfect side for any meal or they can be an entire meal on their own!
Let me introduce you to your favorite new dish.
This is what you’ll need… six peppers.
Orzo. LOVE orzo.
Grated Pecorino Romano cheese. Often times I’ll make the peppers with feta instead of the Pecorino Romano, but I (gasp) didn’t have any on hand.
Fresh basil. I picked mine from the garden, it was still warm from the sunshine. Wish I could bottle that scent.
Italian tomatoes whole or diced.
I like to squish the whole tomatoes with my fingers, personally. But that’s just me.
Of course some extra virgin olive oil,
a little salt & peppa…
and chicken broth.
First pour the chicken broth into a pan and bring to a boil.
Next pour the orzo in and cook for 4 minutes. We want the orzo partially cooked because it will finish off in the oven while nestled inside the peppers.
Next, cut the tops off the peppers and remove all seeds and ribs. Feel free to slice the bottoms off if they seem wobbly.
I like to dice up the extra pepper from the tops and add them to the filling.
Put all of your peppers into a baking dish that fits all six peppers snugly, a 3-quart should do the trick.
We don’t want any peppers spilling their filling. There’s just nothing worse than that!
Once the orzo has cooked for 4 minutes, drain and reserve the chicken broth. We will be using the remaining chicken broth in the bottom of the baking dish while the peppers bake.
Now it’s time to make the filling.
Grate the zucchini.
Grab a big bowl and put in the partially cooked orzo, chopped mint leaves, minced garlic, squished up tomatoes, cheese, diced pepper tops, olive oil, basil and salt and pepper.
Give it a gentle stir to incorporate all of the ingredients.
Heck, I could just eat this entire bowl of filling, but I won’t because I looooooove my little stuffed peppers too much!
Now fill each and every pepper with the filling. You may have some extra filling left over depending on the size of the peppers, just pop the extra into a small baking dish and bake it off with the peppers.
Aren’t they just gorgeous?
Now pour the leftover chicken broth into the bottom of the baking dish, cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
After 45 minutes remove the foil and sprinkle the tops generously with the Pecorino Romano cheese. Cook for 15 more minutes until the tops are golden brown and you can’t possibly stand the incredible aroma that is permeating your nostrils for – One. More. Minute.
Garnish the tops with ribbons of basil, it’s the perfect way to wrap up this perfect little pepper package!
Orzo Stuffed Peppers
(makes six peppers)
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis’ Giada’s Kitchen
- 1 (28 ounce can) can Italian tomatoes
- 2 medium zucchini, grated
- 1/2 cup chopped mint leaves
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for sprinkling
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cups orzo
- 6 peppers
- 1/4 sweet chopped basil
Begin by preheating the oven to 400° F.
Boil the 4 cups of chicken broth, add orzo and cook for 4 minutes.
While the orzo cooks, prepare the peppers by cutting off tops, remove seeds and ribs. Discard the seeds and ribs but save and chop the pepper tops.
Once the orzo is ready, drain the orzo and save the chicken broth.
Next prepare the filling. Pour the orzo, tomatoes, zucchini, chopped pepper tops, mint, cheese, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper into a bowl and stir.
Put the peppers into a 3-quart baking dish, pour the remaining chicken broth into the bottom of the dish and stuff the peppers with the filling.
Cover the peppers with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
Remove the foil, sprinkle the peppers generously with cheese and bake uncovered for 15 more minutes.
Garnish with basil ribbons.