My friend Suzanne and her husband Bob are next-door neighbors in our condo complex. Their house was not far away, so I do not know whether they had a big vegetable garden, but I know that I had.
Over the past week or so, we have all been the kindness of friends, who gave use peppers and zucchini and green beans. The zucchini were particularly lovely (“not too large, not too small, just right,” as Goldilocks might say), but I have been a bit under the weather and all my good ideas went elsewhere.
But Suzanne had a very good idea and made stuffed peppers.
Stuffed peppers are another entrée I’d never had as a child (my mother made stuffed cabbage sometimes), but I had them for the first time maybe in college and have loved them ever since. (Maybe it is because I love stuffed anything, from turkey to cabbage to shrimp).
Last night Suzanne made me two stuffed peppers. They were absolutely delicious. I haven’t had time to get her recipe, but I have my own. Hers used rice, and I think I like hers better than mine. But, for now, with all the green peppers available, I think you will like this one.
Stuffed Peppers with Marinara Sauce
Yield: serves 2 to 4
Heat oven to 350 degrees
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound chopped beef
½ (one-half) teaspoon dried oregano
½ (one-half) teaspoon dried mustard
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1 cup tomato sauce
2 to 4 large green peppers
1 cup water
Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic until translucent. Add beef and sauté until no longer pink. Add seasonings, mix and taste. (Remember, green peppers are a bit bland, so season meat well.) Add tomato sauce and mix.
In the meantime, cut top of peppers and remove ribs and seeds. (If you are using small peppers, remove stem and cut horizontally.) Place peppers skin (or bottom) side down in one layer. Add beef mixture. Add 1 cup of water to pan, cover pan and place in oven. Bake for ½ (one-half) hour, remove cover and continue roasting until pepper can be pierced with a fork.
Place a pepper (or more) on each plate, pour some sauce on top and around the bottom, and serve hot.
Fresh Tomato Sauce
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 sweet onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 28-ounce can good-quality whole or diced tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
About the author: Lee White has been writing about restaurants and cooking since 1976 and has been extensively published in the Worcester (Mass.) Magazine, The Day, Norwich Bulletin, and Hartford Courant. She currently writes Nibbles and a cooking column called A La Carte for LymeLine.com and the Shore Publishing and the Times newspapers, both of which are owned by The Day. She was a resident of Old Lyme for many years but now lives in Groton, Conn. Contact Lee at [email protected].