Thursday, September 26, 2013

Italian Stuffed Peppers

I've made all kinds of stuffed peppers....stuffed pepper soup, crockpot stuffed peppers and the original stuffed peppers that you bake in the oven. This recipe is unique because it is made with Italian sausage and spaghetti sauce. It definitely has a richer flavor and is relatively easy to make.

My parents were joining us for dinner so we doubled the recipe and baked the peppers in two 9x13 glass pans. We also cut the green peppers in half to make smaller serving sizes for the kids. It helps the mozzarella cheese to cover more rice and I thought it was easier to cut up instead of eating out of a tall green pepper. 

Italian Stuffed Peppers
recipe adapted from "Orzo-Stuffed Peppers" in Taste of Home freezer cookbook

4 large green peppers
1 cup uncooked orzo pasta (I used 1 cup rice)
1 lb. bulk Italian sausage (I used mild)
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 Tbsp. dried basil (or 1/4 cup minced fresh basil)
2 cups marinara or spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Cut tops off peppers and slice in half; remove seeds.  In a large pot, cook peppers in boiling water for 3-5 minutes. Drain and then set aside.  Cook orzo (or rice) according to package directions.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the sausage and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink.  Add garlic and basil; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the spaghetti sauce. Spoon into peppers. Place in a greased 9x13-in baking dish.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with cheeses. Bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Serve immediately or before baking, cover and freeze casserole for up to 3 months.

To use frozen casserole: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Cover and bake according to directions.

We served the Italian stuffed peppers along with some buttery corn, cheesy garlic bread & fruit. Since we doubled the recipe, we had plenty of leftovers that made another meal for my family the following night. The next time I make this recipe I'm going to double it and then freeze half of the peppers.  So glad I discovered this Italian version of stuffed peppers....adding this recipe to my "make-again" file!!! I hope that your family enjoys this meal also!!


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