Stuffed peppers are one of my favorite things to eat and make. They just have such a fun look to them and the peppers make beautiful serving dishes. This recipe has very classic Italian flavors and I used an orzo pasta instead of rice in the filling – I find that it stays more moist and prefer the texture and buttery flavor.
To make it all the more pretty, I used a variety of peppers – yellow, orange, and green. I skipped red because the store had longer, thinner red pepper, and the shape wouldn’t have worked as well. Use whatever you prefer, but note that the yellow and orange peppers tend to be a bit sweeter than greens.
Because of all the sweetness, this dish could actually stand up to the heat of spicy Italian sausage – feel free to substitute if you’d like. Traditionally, I’d also top these babies with some mozzarella cheese for the last 10 minutes of baking, but I refrained from doing so for Nick’s sake.
This recipe actually yields eight peppers worth of filling, but I chose to make six and saved some filling as a nice leftover lunch (which I’m actually eating as I type). Yum!
Orzo & Sausage Stuffed Peppers
- 1 1/2 cups orzo, cooked to al dente
- 1 large shallot, diced
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 3/4 pound sweet Italian sausage meat, removed from casings
- 2 cups spinach, roughly chopped
- handful of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp red pepper flake
- 6 bell peppers, tops cut off and seeds removed
- 16 oz canned diced tomatoes
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a large skillet, saute the shallot with plenty of salt and pepper over medium heat until the shallot softens. Add the sausage meat an cook until it is brown and crumbly. Using a wooden spoon, break up the meat as much as possible, getting rid of any large pieces.
Toss in the spinach, parsley, and red pepper and stir for another 2-3 minutes until the spinach is wilted. Add the cooked orzo to the mixture and combine until everything is evenly mixed. Remove the filling from the heat and set aside.
Clean the peppers by removing all seeds and as much of the white membranes as possible. If the peppers have very uneven bottoms, you can also trim a bit off the end so that they sit flat. Pour the diced tomatoes into a baking dish and spread them around evenly. Sit the peppers in the dish and fill them with the sausage and orzo mixture. Top with another shake of salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 40-45 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for just another 10 minutes. Allow the peppers to cool down for about 5 or so minutes before serving.