Thursday, January 10, 2013

Italian Stuffed Peppers With Soffritto alla Kansas


Today is a twofer... Two posts.  Earlier in the day I posted "Soffritto - An Essential of the Italian/Tuscan Kitchen".  A combination of carrots, onions and celery with a sprinkling of parsley, slow sauted; used in many soups and meat dishes.  It is a new term for me, but I am seeing this in lots of the Italian recipes I am pondering.  

\So I made a batch or two and pondered some more.

OK, to the dish... My wife has been asking for stuffed peppers.  In my zeal for all food Italian, I tried to find a recipe for Italian stuffed peppers.  I couldn't.  Sure seems like something there ought to be an Italian version of, but so far, no luck.  So, I dug up my old tried and true recipe and I started pondering again...

I took a look at all the ingredients in a stuffed pepper, and imagined the Kansas version of Italian Stuffed Peppers with Soffritto  Or, as my make believe Italian Grandmother would say ... "Italiano farcite peperone con soffritto ala Kansas".

Here's what I did...


Italiano farcite peperone con soffritto ala Kansas


Ingredients
  • I made this with 2 Peppers, and LOTS of extra "stuffing" for a bed to rest the peppers on. This recipe would easily stuff 4 peppers with less bed
  • 2 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 1-1/4 Cups White Rice
  • 2 Cups Soffritto (sauted Onion, Carrot, Celery, parsley)
  • 2 TBS Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Onion, diced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, crushed and minced
  • 1 Pound Italian Sausage
  • 1 small Pinch Red pepper Flakes
  • 1 Cup Italian Bread Crumbs
  • 1 Cup Grated Mozzarella Cheese
  • 2 Large Eggs, whisked
  • 2 TBS Fresh Oregano, chopped
  • 2 TBS Fresh basil, Chopped
  • 1 Cup Herbed Tomato Sauce (fresh made or substitute jarred store bought)
  • 2 Whole Large Bell Peppers, tops removed, carefully remove seeds and white membrane. Reserve tops for decoration
  • 2 TBS Fresh gratted Parmesan Cheese for garnish
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium pot, heat 2 cups Chicken stock to gentle boil. Add 1-1/4 cup white rice. Rice is done when fluffy and almost all of the liquid has been absorbed. . Continue to simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, over medium high heat, add the Soffritto and the extra Onion, Saute for about 5 minutes, until the new onion starts to soften.
  4. Add the garlic and saute for one more minute.
  5. Add the sausage and saute for another 5 minutes until the sausage has just lost it's pink color. You are going to bake this, so do not over cook the sausage.
  6. Add Bread crumbs, cheese, oregano, basil, tomato sauce and the rice and mix everything together
  7. Add Eggs and mix one last time.
  8. In a baking dish, take 1/2 the stuffing and make a bed for the peppers to rest.
  9. stuff the remaining stuffing into the whole peppers. Rest them in the bed.
  10. Bake for 30 minutes until the pepper tops start to blister a bit.
  11. Plate one pepper plus some of the bedding, top with freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
  12. Serve HOT and ENJOY
OK, no hyperbole... WOW oh WOW!  This is by far the best stuffed pepper I have ever eaten.  The Mozzarell, tomato sauce and Italian Sausage combined to make this pizza flavored.  The Soffritto added a sweet (from the carrots) taste, the rice cooked in chicken stock made for a rich flavorful base.

No brag... This is the BEST!


Well, sigh, as italian as this sounds, I can not in good conscience add this to my list of "52 Authentic Italian Recipes".  Lots of reasons, but mainly, this is hardly authentic.  I pretty much adapted and came up with this on the fly.  I can call it Italian and could easily pass it off as such.  But it's Kansas through and through.

But it is good, really good.

And another But... But it is a fine example of Italian mind set... I make a batch of Herbed Tomato Sauce,  Enough to last for a few days worth of recipes so I have it in the fridge.  I make a batch of Soffritto and keep that in the freezer, ready to add when the inspiration hits me.  Suddenly, with a little pondering and only about 20 minutes hands on effort, I have something special.

I LOVE ITALIAN COOKING... even when it's alla Kansas.

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