Italian Stuffed Peppers

I recently came across a recipe that caught my eye.  An old school offering done slightly different.  Everyone knows stuffed peppers, but this one boasts updated ingredients with an Italian flair.  The recipe uses the cubanelle pepper, a variety I have seen at almost every farm stand I stop at.  Earlier this week I grabbed a few on the way home from work along with some pancetta, italian parsley and some nice italian mixed olives.  Along with some nice crusty italian bread, these ingredients would serve as my stuffing.  

This recipe comes together quickly, and can be on your table in about a half hour or so, perfect for a weeknight dinner served over a pool of red sauce, but it also works really well for a weekend brunch.

4 Cubanelle peppers

3 oz chopped pancetta

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 TBL minced white onion

2 cups Ciabatta Baguette, diced small 

1/4 cup italian parsley, chopped

1/4 cup basil, chopped

1/2 cup italian olives, diced fine

1/2 cup grated parmesan

2 large eggs

2 TBL olive oil

Ground pepper to taste

1.Remove the tops of the peppers, discarding the steps and dicing the usable pepper tops. Also remove all the seeds and ribs.

2. Pan fry the pancetta over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring often.

3.  Add the minced onion, reserved diced pepper tops and the garlic.  Lower heat and cook until fragrant, and the pancetta begins to crisp

4. In a separate bowl, combine the cubed bread and olives.  Add the pepper- pancetta mixture, as well as the herbs and parmesan

5. in the same pan you cooked the pancetta in, scramble 2 eggs and add to the mixture.  

6. Combine all the ingridients and moisten with a little olive oil in necessary.

7.  Using your hands, stuff the mixture into the peppers.

8. Lay in a oven safe baking pan and roast covered for roughly 20 minutes, remove cover and roast about 15-20 more.

The result: A fresh tasting stuffing with a subtle salt and briny bite.  The fat from the pancetta flavors the entire stuffing, while the olives add a perfect little enhancement.  This could easily be made vegetarian by swapping the pancetta for a vegetable of your choosing: mushrooms, kale, eggplant, the possibilities are limitless.  Break yourself from the routine of the standard stuffed pepper and give these a try, the result will surprise you.