My Mother was very inventive when it came to preparing meatless dishes. Being raised a Catholic, I remember meatless meals prepared during our Lenten season and for Fridays when we did not eat meat or poultry. Mom’s stuffed peppers is one that I remember and enjoyed.
The dish is not only delicious, but also easy to prepare and can be served hot from the oven, or room temperature and even cold. Mom did not buy deli lunch meat for sandwiches, whatever leftovers she could put into a roll or between two slices of bread is what we took to school for lunch.
Being a typical self-conscious teenage, I was slightly embarrassed by my sandwich when others were eating peanut butter and jelly or turkey or ham sandwiches. However, there were other children from ethnic backgrounds who had lunch made with food of their country of origin and we would look at our greased stained brown paper bags and wonder what treat Mom fixed that day. The peanut butter eaters wondered and were a little curious about the aromas that permeated from our sandwiches. Believe me those sandwiches, although not the usual, were delicious!
Cubanelle peppers are a sweet non-thick flesh pepper such as a bell pepper. Sometimes they are called Italian frying peppers or sweet frying peppers. They are excellent just fried in a little olive oil until lightly browned on all sides. The peppers stuffed and baked are delicious and easy to prepare. Serve hot, at room temperature, or cold, and the leftovers can be made into a delicious sandwich. I like to prepare the sandwich on Italian bread or in hoagie roll. The addition of red wine vinegar to the stuffing is what makes this recipe stand out from all the rest. The peppers are baked and covered with marinara sauce (see recipe below).
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Oil a 9×13 casserole pan with olive oil.
Prepare peppers for stuffing:
- 6 Cubanelle peppers
- Wash peppers and dry with paper towels.
- Cut the top ½ inch from the pepper and remove seeds.
4 cups cubed bread. You can crumble the mixture with your fingers or use a food processor on pulse to crumble as shown below:
Add to crumbled bread and toss until well combined:
- 3 whole garlic cloves, finely minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley (Italian parsley)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
Stir in liquid ingredients and mix until bread mixture is generously moistened:
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons water
- Loosely stuff peppers with mixture.
- Arrange peppers in 9×13 pan and lightly coat with olive oil and lightly sprinkle with salt (optional).
- Bake in 375F oven 35-45 minutes until slightly brown.
- Remove from oven and cover with marinara sauce enough to coat peppers.
- Return to oven and bake until sauce bubbles about 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven and serve.
Marinara Sauce Recipe:
- 28 ounce canned crush tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cloves finely minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried basil or 1 tablespoon fresh finely chopped basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh flat leave parsley (Italian parsley)
- Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Sauté garlic until pale blond, about 30 seconds.
- Add tomatoes and additional ingredients and stir over medium heat.
- Simmer uncovered until sauce is thickened about 15 minutes.
Marinara sauce can be made ahead of time and used when ready to coat peppers. This is a basic sauce that can be used in many dishes.