Stuffed Italian Peppers Entree or Appetizer
1 lb Strauss Free Raised® Grass-Fed Beef or Veal, or combination of both
4 to 6 bell peppers or
6 large banana peppers for spicy version or
16 small baby peppers for appetizer variation
1 Tbs olive oil
1 bag or clamshell of fresh baby spinach finely chopped
3 Tbs chopped fresh basil or 1 Tbs dried
¼ c chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp dried ground fennel
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or through garlic press
½ c onion, finely chopped
½ tsp salt, or to taste (remember the cheese will add further salt)
¼ tsp crushed red pepper, or to taste
¼ tsp black pepper
1/3 c dry red or white wine
2 Tbs tomato paste
2 Tbs grated parmesan cheese
12 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Slice the stem and the very top off each pepper. Scoop out all the seeds. Set peppers aside.
3. Heat large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 Tbs of olive oil to preheated skillet. Let the oil get warm, then add all ingredients to skillet except wine, tomato paste and cheeses.
4. Break ground meat apart while sautéing. Continue to cook until onions are translucent and meat is cooked through.
5. Add wine and tomato paste; continue to sauté until wine is reduced. Remove from heat. Let mixture cool.
6. Stir all of the parmesan cheese and half of the shredded cheese into the cooled meat mixture if using bell peppers. If using banana peppers or mini peppers, you will need to stir all of the shredded cheese into the meat mixture, because these peppers will not stand upright and will be baking on their sides.
7. Fill peppers with meat mixture.
8. Top with remaining shredded cheese, if using the bell peppers.
9. Place in baking dish or on sheet pan/tray and bake in preheated oven about 30 minutes, or until meat mixture is heated through, the peppers are tender and the cheese is melted and bubbling. The mini peppers will not require as much cooking time; check them at 20 minutes.