Stuffed Green Peppers With Brown Rice Sausage And Parmesan

Cook one-cup of long-grain brown rice first according to package instructions.

Once the rice is cooked preheat oven to 375 degrees and cut off the stem ends of four green peppers. Remove the seeds. Place the hollowed out green peppers on a baking pan previously treated with a non-stick spray or greased with a little olive oil.

Remove the stem from the green pepper caps. Dice the green pieces of the caps into small pieces and mix with one large onion also diced into small pieces. Heat the diced green pepper and onion mixture in a small fry pan with two tablespoons of olive oil under moderate heat for a few minutes until softened but not brown. Remove the green pepper and onion mix to the side. Add an additional teaspoon of olive oil and two broken up Italian sausage links from which the casing has been previously removed. Break up the sausage and cook it until it has been lightly browned. Continue breaking apart the sausage as it cooks especially if it has a tendency to clump.

Recombine the onion and green pepper mixture with the browned sausage and add one-half teaspoon of ground fennel, one-half teaspoon of dried oregano. Mix up thoroughly and saute for a few minutes to blend flavors. Then add the cooked rice and a half cup or a little more of graded Parmesan to the sausage-green pepper-onion mix and salt and pepper to taste (don’t add too much–spices and herbs will carry the day).  Cook all this in a fry pan just enough to warm the mixture. Stuff the the mixture into the hollowed out peppers using a spoon to press down lightly to pack it tightly into the peppers. You may precook the peppers for 10-15 min or so if you want the final outcome to be a softer pepper shell.  Whether precooked or not use all the filling to pack into the peppers and bake for 30 min at 375 degrees. Sprinkle grated Mozzarella on top of each pepper. Distribute equally about one-quarter cup of Mozzarella–a little more than a quarter cup won’t hurt. Cook the peppers an additional 10-15 minutes until Mozzarella has melted. Serve hot. A little cottage cheese on top of a few lettuce leaves is an excellent side dish–on the same plate as the stuffed pepper. A small side dish of applesauce also works well.

Leftover stuffed peppers can be frozen for 1-2 months whole or cut in half for smaller servings. They can be more easily reheated later when cut in half before freezing.  Enclose stuffed pepper halves in a plastic, covered box or zip-lock sandwich bag before freezing.

 

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