Sunday, June 24, 2012

Giada's Stuffed Baby Peppers

We are on vacation once again, however I don't have an internet connection (what kind of rental house in this day and age doesn't offer wifi?!), so I'm just typing this up and saving it and will upload once we're home at the end of the week. We're on the opposite coast this time, spending a week on the Central Coast area of CA with my husband's family. Once again, it's cloudy. At least in CA the clouds usually burn off, although the past two days they sadly have not. THe husband and I are spending the day wine tasting in Paso Robles while his lovely sister watches our kids for us, so that's probably a sure sign the sun will be shining on the beach all day. Oh well, I'll be tasting wine with the love of my life, so I can't complain too much.

You may remember that every year for my grandma's birthday, she likes to have a happy hour birthday party where we feast on all sorts of appetizers and wine. I always spend weeks trying to figure out what my contributions will be. I had seen these in a Giada cookbook when I was searching for dinner ideas and thought they'd be a great contribution. I don't think I've ever gone wrong with a Giada recipe.

Giada's Stuffed Baby Peppers

Vegetable oil cooking spray
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup frozen petite peas, thawed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
24 (2 to 3-inch long) sweet baby peppers

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with vegetable oil cooking sprayand set aside.

In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add thepancetta and cook, stirring frequently, until brown and crispy, about 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta anddrain on paper towels. Add the onion to the pan and cook until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
In a medium bowl, combine the onion, pancetta, cheeses, and peas. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Using a paring knife, cut 1/2-inch from the stem-end of the peppers. Remove the seeds and veins. Using a small dessert spoon, fill each pepper with the ricotta mixture. Place the filled peppers on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 to 18 minutes until the peppers begin to soften. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes.
Arrange the peppers on a platter and serve.


We had an event for the husband's work before we went to my mom's for the party, so I assembled the peppers ahead of time and just kept them in a cooler while we were at the event. When it was party time, I put them on a cookie sheet and popped them in the oven. Super easy to get them prepped ahead of time!

These were really tasty, and they're low carb which I need to keep in mind for when we're having low carb weeks, or just to take to things where I know it will be a carb-fest. Let me tell you something about petite peas though--they're a scam!! I stood at the freezer case of my grocery store looking for petite peas. There was one brand that sold them--at three times the cost of a bag of regular peas. But, it was for my grandma's 94th birthday so I figured I'd splurge. You know what? They were the same freakin' size as regular peas. Well played, Birds Eye Vegetables, well played. So save yourself some money and use regular peas.

I will definitely be making these again. There were quite a few leftover (there's always a ton of food at this party), and the husband and I liked eating them cold even. He took them as a side in his lunch for a couple days after the party. Thanks, Giada, for another great recipe!!

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