PUTTANESCA PEPPERS

Teresa G.

By
@BlueGinghamApron

Oh, these stuffed peppers are so good! This is a "totally from scratch" recipe that I created in order to make good use of the abundance of fresh vegetables and herbs from our garden. It's rather time-consuming, but it is really worth the effort. It may be prepared in stages, if preferred. You can make the sauce ahead of time and refrigerate it for up to 3 days. You may also prepare the breadcrumb topping and cook the meat ahead of time. I hope you love my Puttanesca Peppers as much as we do!


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Rating:
★★★★★ 2 votes
Comments:
Serves:
6 to 8
Prep:
2 Hr 30 Min
Cook:
1 Hr 15 Min
Method:
Bake

Ingredients

6 c
fresh chopped red ripe tomatoes (peeled, seeded with juice; see *note)
1 Tbsp
olive oil, extra virgin plus 1 teaspoon
1 tsp
sugar
1/2 tsp
balsamic vinegar
1/8 tsp
salt
2 pinch
black pepper, freshly ground
1
bay leaf
1/4 tsp
dried italian herb seasoning
1 Tbsp
plus 1 tsp chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp
rosemary, fresh finely minced
1 tsp
oregano, fresh finely minced
1/2 Tbsp
garlic, fresh finely minced
3
anchovy fillets
1 lb
sweet italian sausage (loose, no casings)
1 lb
ground round or lean ground beef
4-6
kalamata olives, pitted & chopped
1/2 Tbsp
capers
2 c
fresh bread crumbs, divided (1 1/2 cup & 1/2 cup)
4 Tbsp
parmesan cheese, divided (freshly grated preferred)
6 large
sweet bell peppers, top, seeds and ribs removed (or 8 medium, your choice of color, but i prefer red))
2 c
water (for simmering peppers)
1/8 tsp
garlic salt (for topping)

Step-By-Step

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1*NOTE: If locally grown, non-greenhouse tomatoes are not available, canned san marzano tomatoes (Italian plum tomatoes) may be substituted for fresh.

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2Gather and prep all ingredients.

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3To a 5 to 7 quart nonreactive dutch oven or sauce pot (I use nonstick,) add the first 13 ingredients (tomatoes to anchovies, minus 1 teaspoon oil reserved for topping and 1 teaspoon of reserved 1 teaspoon basil for adding to meat mixture prior to stuffing.)

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4Bring to boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently for 1/2 hour.

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5While sauce is cooking, add sweet Italian sausage and ground beef to a large skillet.

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6Cook and brown meats over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until meat is thoroughly cooked and most of liquid has evaporated (remember to stir sauce while browning meat.)

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7Place meat in wire mesh strainer over a container to catch grease; drain well; place meat in a bowl, cover and refrigerate if making ahead of time. Discard grease.

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8After sauce has simmered for first half hour, add chopped olives; simmer additional 20 minutes, stirring frequently (sauce will reduce by at least half.) During this time, begin simmering peppers (see next step.)

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9To a large sauce pot or Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid, add 2 cups water; place prepared bell peppers, open end down in pot.

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10Bring water to boil, cover with lid, reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 15-18 minutes, until tender (to your liking.)

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11After sauce has simmered the additional 20 minutes after adding olives, add capers; simmer additional 5 to 10 minutes. You should have at least 2 cups of sauce.

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12Remove sauce from heat; remove and discard bay leaf.

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13Pour into heat resistant container, allow to cool slightly, cover and refrigerate if making ahead of time.

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14After peppers have simmered for 20 minutes, use tongs to remove peppers, drain and place, open end up, in a baking dish that is large enough to hold all the peppers, or into 2 smaller baking dishes.

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15Preheat oven to 350ºF.

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16If meat and sauce has been refrigerated, reheat to warm on stovetop or in microwave, 20 to 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each.

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17To meat, add 1 1/2 cups of the prepared sauce and reserved 1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil, mixing well.

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18Add 1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs and 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese to meat mixture; mix thoroughly to combine well.

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19Spoon meat sauce mixture, equally, into peppers.

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20Prepare topping: In a small bowl combine together well, reserved 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs, reserved 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, reserved 1 teaspoon olive oil and 1/8 teaspoon garlic salt.

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21Equally top each stuffed pepper with prepared topping.

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22Bake, uncovered, at 350ºF for 1 hour and 15 minutes, turning dish after 40 minutes. If breadcrumb mixture begins to brown more than desired, cover lightly with a piece of aluminum foil.

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23Heat remaining 1/2 cup sauce; spoon equally onto serving plates; place a pepper on top of sauce on each plate.

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24Garnish with fresh basil, cherry tomatoes and/or parmesan, if desired.

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25Serve immediately. Cover and refrigerate leftovers. Stuffed peppers may be completely assembled, wrapped and frozen for another day. Thaw in refrigerator 12-24 hours before baking.

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