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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Peperoni Imbottiti (Stuffed Peppers: Neapolitan Style)

Peperoni Imbottiti is a Neapolitan recipe for sweet bell peppers stuffed with anchovies, black olives, capers, garlic, breadcrumbs and roasted to sweet perfection! One of the fondest olfactory memories of my childhood is the sweet succulent  smell of bell peppers roasting in the oven. As soon as the red and yellow bell peppers hit the stores in summer my father would come home with a paper bag full of them and then he would hold them up to my nose to smell, I would take a big whiff and imagine them all charred and roasted, Italians rarely eat them raw but rather prefer them roasted until they are tender and sweet. This is my Dad's recipe and he to this day he still enjoys cooking this quick and easy recipe for an impromptu dinner in the summer months. As soon as the red and yellow peppers hit the markets he calls me and tells me all about how he is going to cook them and I am taken back to my childhood. These stuffed peppers along with a quick pasta dish like Aglia Olio (since you already have an opened can of anchovies) and a glass of chilled white wine make a nice light summer meal.
Ingredients (For 6 people)

6 sweet bell peppers: 3 red 3 yellow or any color you like I actually prefer the earthiness of green bell peppers and they're cheaper : )
3/4 cup fresh or panko style bread crumbs
1/4 cup black olives (calamata) rinsed pitted and chopped
1-2 garlic cloves minced
4-5 Roma tomatoes diced
2 tablespoons capers rinsed and drained
4 anchovy fillets mashed and chopped very fine
pinch sea salt to taste (go light since the ingredients are salty)

fresh parsley or basil chopped: 1/4 cup or so
zest and juice of 1 lemon
olive oil

Preheat oven to 350.
Clean and cut your peppers in half length ways very neatly keeping the stem attached, remove the seeds and ribs.  Place these under the broiler to  soften and just start to char turning to get them all over.You can leave the skins on and proceed with directions below (that's my favorite way to cook them) or remove the skins and change the baking time to 30-45 minutes.
Heat up olive oil (enough to coat bottom of pan good) in in pan and saute the garlic, once it is soft add the lemon zest and juice, tomatoes, olives, capers and anchovies cooking until soft.
Add the breadcrumbs salt and cook until toasted.Taste for saltiness. Add fresh parsley or basil at end.
Drizzle olive oil inside a baking pan add the peppers and drizzle more olive oil inside each pepper.
Fill the pepper halves with the filling and add a drizzle olive oil on top of each pepper.
Bake  for 1 hour (or 30-45 minutes if skins were removed) until the filling is golden and crispy and the peppers are super soft and almost falling a part, mmmmmm I can smell them now!

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