Thursday, August 6, 2009

Orzo and Spinach Stuffed Peppers

I realize it's not obvious what you're looking at in the picture above. But take my word for it - it is a beautiful medley of Italian flavors. It is incredibly comforting and filled with nutrients to carry you through the rest of your day.

I had some beautiful yellow bell peppers, a bunch of spinach, and fresh mint just waiting to be used. And thanks to Giada (and a bit of tweaking of her recipe on my part), I found the perfect vehicle. This dish is somewhere between a pasta dish and a soup, yet it seems to be the familiar pot-luck staple, the stuffed pepper. Totally vegetarian and packed with unexpected flavor, however, it is anything but familiar.

The cool mint against the earthy tomato and spinach is a beautiful thing.

I chose to cut my bell peppers length-wise to maximize filling in only two peppers, but if you'd rather cut off the tops and stuff them that way, feel free. The world is your oyster. Or pepper, as the case may be.

Orzo and Spinach Stuffed Peppers
adapted from Giada's Kitchen
serves 3


1 (14.5 oz) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 bunch of spinach, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan, plus more for sprinkling
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced or pressed
salt and pepper
2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
3/4 cups orzo
2 large or 3 small/medium bell peppers (red or yellow)


1. Preheat oven to 400.

2. In a large bowl, combine tomatoes and their juices, spinach, mint, cheese, oil, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

3. Bring vegetable broth to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add orzo and cook for 4 minutes. It will not be completely cooked yet. Drain it in a sieve, reserving the broth, and add the orzo to the large bowl with the veggies. Stir to combine. Transfer the broth to a 2-quart (or similar) baking dish.

4. Slice the peppers in half length-wise and scoop out the seeds and ribs. Lay the pepper halves (open-side up) in the baking dish and fill them with the orzo mixture. Cover the dish with foil (or a glass lid) and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the lid, sprinkle with additional cheese, and continue baking uncovered for 10 minutes. Transfer the peppers carefully to individual plates and serve.


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