I‘ve been encouraged to discover that besides tomatoes, peppers too are in season here on the Gulf Coast of Florida. And at $0.25 each at the open air produce market, represent a great value.
While roasting is always a good choice for bell peppers, this particular batch was colorful enough that I thought I should stuff them. But rather than use the traditional stuffing based on bread crumbs, I used a simple risotto with sausage, based on the Montovan recipe for Risotto alla Pilota.
Again, though, I wanted to keep this simple in order to keep the focus on the peppers, so rather than use chicken stock for the risotto, I simply used water.
I’ve also discovered recently that by adding the wine to the risotto last, instead of first, the risotto has a pleasant sweetness that doesn’t come through with the more traditional cooking method.
Peperoni Ripiene con Risotto
Peppers Stuffed with Risotto
2 Large bell peppers
1 Tbs. Olive oil
1 Italian sausage (either sweet or hot) with the casing removed
1 Medium onion, finely diced
2/3 Cup Arborio rice
1/2 Cup dry white wine
1/4 Cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano
1 – 2 Slices sharp Provolone, shredded
4 Tbs. Flat-leaf Italian parsley, finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 450 F.
Slice the peppers in half lengthwise. If possible, slice through the stem as well. Remove the seeds and ribs (a grapefruit knife works well for this purpose), and discard.
Place the peppers—cut side down—on a baking pan, and then in the oven. Cook for approximately ten minutes, or until the peppers begin to wilt and caramelize. Remove from the oven and reserve.
Meanwhile, heat a sauté pan over medium heat, then add the sausage. Cook, breaking up the sausage with the back of a fork, until it has lost its pinkness, and has begun to exude some fat. Remove from the heat and reserve.
Heat another sauté pan over medium-high heat, and when hot, add the olive oil. Add the chopped onion, and sauté for three or four minutes until the onion has wilted. Add the Arborio to the pan, and sauté briefly to toast the rice.
Begin adding water to the pan, approximately 1/4 Cup at a time, stirring constantly. When one addition of water has been absorbed, add another 1/4 Cup, continuing to stir. Begin tasting the rice after approximately fifteen minutes. The grains should retain their texture, but the dish should also be creamy.
When the rice is nearly cooked, add the wine, and cook, stirring, to dissolve the alcohol. Remove the rice from the heat, and add the Pecorino or Parmigiano. Stir in the reserved sausage.
Place the reserved peppers, cut side up, on a baking pan, and spoon the risotto into each of them, just mounding the risotto slightly. Dot each pepper with the shards of Provolone, and return to the oven for five or six minutes—just until the cheese begins to bubble.
Remove from the oven and place one pepper half on each of four dinner plates. Garnish with the parsley, and serve at once.