When I first got the newest Giada cookbook, I flipped through and noticed this recipe immediately. I couldn't wait to make it but wanted to wait until red peppers were on sale. I was super excited when I saw them for cheap at Sprouts last week (are you asking when I'm going to stop talking about Sprouts? I don't blame you, but I'm almost out of all the goodness I bought there), and I had looked at the recipe shortly before that trip, so I knew the other major stuff I needed for it.
I'm not feeling super wordy today, so on to the recipe.
Giada's Orzo Stuffed Peppers
1 (28-ounce) can Italian tomatoes
2 zucchini, grated
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
6 sweet bell peppers (red or yellow)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Pour the tomatoes into a large bowl and break apart using a pair of kitchen shears or your finger tips. Add the zucchini, mint, cheese, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
Meanwhile, bring the chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the orzo and cook for 4 minutes. The orzo should be only partially cooked. Use a fine mesh sieve to transfer the orzo to the large bowl with the other vegetables. Stir the orzo into the vegetable mix to combine. Transfer the warm chicken broth to a 3-quart baking dish.
Slice the tops off the peppers and remove all ribs and seeds. Cut a very thin slice from the base to help the peppers stand up.
Place the peppers in the baking dish with the warm chicken broth. Spoon the orzo mixture into the peppers. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle the top of each pepper with cheese and continue baking until the cheese is golden, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, carefully transfer the orzo stuffed pepper to a serving plate.
I didn't make many changes to this, except I had regular canned whole tomatoes, not Italian. I meant to add some Italian seasoning to the mixture, but I forgot when I was mixing it all up. I also browned some sweet Italian sausage and added in to the mixture, per Jen B.'s recommendation. And can I just say how much I love fresh mint?! It smells fantastic...I could stand in my kitchen inhaling that scent all freakin' day. I only used four peppers, and I have a ton of the filling left, so I put it in the freezer, then I'll have a super easy dinner at some point in the future. I tasted some of the filling before I froze it, and it was so good. Lots of yummy flavors--the olive oil, sausage, tomatoes, mint, parmesan (oh yeah, I used parmesan instead).
These were really good. The boy didn't eat it at all, but I think he was having an off night. All he ate for dinner was broccoli. Yes, my toddler loves broccoli. Anyway, the husband and I both really liked this, although he said the pepper itself was kind of bland but the filling was really good. Not sure what I can do about that, but if that's his only complaint, I'm not complaining. We will definitely have these again...regardless of the huge bag of leftover filling in the freezer. ;)