This meal is so much fun to create! You pretty much can’t go wrong with what you put in this recipe (with the exception of adding pickles or a banana…please don’t do that!) Creating an exact recipe for this dish would be a total impossibility because every time I make it, it’s different. So here are the basic ingredients I have put in, you can add or subtract them depending on what you like. I ALWAYS add the roasted peppers (that’s right, you must always stuff your peppers with roasted peppers). If I’m adding pesto, I don’t add tomato paste or oregano and vice versa. Chopped Roma tomatoes are great, but not necessary if you don’t have any. And all the cheeses listed aren’t needed, so just choose what you like, trust your stomach and it’ll all work out…
You will need most of these ingredients:
- 1½ cups orzo pasta
- 3-4 spicy Italian sausages
- 1 large onion, any color
- Plenty of garlic
- 4-5 large bell peppers for stuffing, any color
- 4-5 bell peppers for roasting, any color
- Dried or fresh oregano
- Pesto or fresh basil
- 3 fresh Roma tomatoes or a dollop of tomato paste
- Red pepper flakes or Shake (recipe here)
- Mozzarella or any good melting cheese
- Mascarpone cheese
- Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
- Olive oil
Here we go…
- Broil 4 bell peppers, turning occasionally until blackened on all sides. Put blackened peppers in bowl and cover with foil to steam for 20-30 minutes. Peel and de-seed the peppers. Next, slice and dice the peppers and place in large bowl.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a good pull of salt. Cook orzo until it still has a bite in the middle. Remember to not overcook since it will cook again in the pepper in the oven.
- While orzo is cooking, get out a large sauté pan and put over medium/high heat. Take the sausage out of its casing and cook, breaking into small bits with a spatula. Drizzle in some olive oil and throw in the chopped onion. Add to this what you like…chopped garlic, Shake, red pepper flakes, oregano, tomato paste, fresh tomato or just salt and pepper.
- Once the onion and sausage mixture has cooked, throw it into the big bowl with the roasted peppers.
- By now the orzo should be done cooking. Drain it (REMEMBER…reserve 1 cup of the pasta water for later use!) and put the orzo into the bowl with the sausage and roasted peppers. Mix everything together and add the pasta water to make it moist. I like the orzo mix to be a little creamy because it will dry out slightly in the oven.
- If you want to add pesto, fresh basil or mascarpone cheese, do it now while the orzo is warm and mix it together. You can also add some grated Parmesan or Pecorino now too.
- Turn on oven to 375. Cut around the stems of the stuffing peppers and remove tops. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Drizzle a little olive oil in the peppers and arrange together in a baking dish. Put the empty peppers in the oven to soften for about 10-15 minutes before you stuff them.
- After the peppers have pre-cooked a little bit, take them out and stuff them! I like to layer orzo, mozzarella, pecorino, orzo and top with mozzarella.
- Bake the stuffed peppers at 375° until the cheese on top is golden brown.