Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Meets Stuffed Peppers...and they fell in love.


I couldn't resist the beautiful red bell peppers that Fairway had on sale for .99/lb last week. I bought four of them and they were all uniform in size, perfect for stuffing. I've shared my recipe for Stuffed Peppers with you already so I wanted to try something unique. I had some broccoli rabe leftover from my mom's birthday dinner and thought the bright green would look great with the red peppers. For some reason though, I can't think of broccoli rabe without also thinking of sausage, it's such a popular combination in Italian cooking. I've shared my recipe for Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli rabe already as well but I thought that this could be different. After some thinking and messing around in my fridge, freezer and pantry I decided to make Stuffed Peppers with Orzo, Sweet Italian Sausage and Broccoli Rabe. I am so very happy I tried this out. I loved it! Steve did too, even though he never really likes to eat the pepper, no matter how I make it. I did have a lot of extra filling so his second helping was the fillng minus the pepper. That itself could make a great meal or side dish.

Keep in mind, if you are making the broccoli rabe specifically for this dish I would save it for the weekend. It could end up taking some time. Since it needs to be boiled, shocked in cold water and then sauteed with garlic and oil. If you want to know how to prepare broccoli rabe for this dish please follow the link to my previous post.


6 red bell peppers (I used four but had enough filling for 6)
1/2 pound of orzo
3 links of sweet Italian sausage, removed from casing
1 small onion, diced
4-5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
1-15 oz can tomato sauce (such as Delmonte or Contadina)
Approx 1 - 1 1/2 cups prepared broccoli rabe, chopped
1/4 cup pignoli nuts, toasted
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup romano or parmigiano cheese plus extra for grating on top
2 teaspoons basil, frozen, fresh or dried
salt and pepper


1. Boil orzo in salted water for 7 minutes. Orzo will still be slighly tough but they will continue to cook inside the pepper. Drain well and toss with oil. Set aside in a bowl or cookie sheet to cool.

2. While pasta is cooking, prepare peppers. Remove tops and reserve for another use (such as salad), remove ribs and seeds and rinse. Cut a small slice off the bottom of the peppers. Do not cut a thick slice because we do not want the filling to fall through. You want the slice to be thick enough to make some holes for the sauce to come through and to keep the pepper from falling over. Chop up those slices and reserve. Sprinkle inside of peppers with salt and pepper.

3. In a deep pan or chicken fryer (you need to be able to fit the peppers in the pan with the lid on) Saute sausage in some oil, breaking it with a spoon or potato masher. Try to get the pieces as small as you can. Remove sausage and set aside.

4. In the same pan saute onion and garlic in drippings. Add the basil, chopped pepper and tomato. Season with salt and pepper. Once vegetables are softened add wine and let it cook down for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

5. In a large bowl combine orzo, sausage, broccoli rabe, pignoli nuts, softened veggie mixture, and cheese. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.

6. Fill peppers with mixture. Heat the same pan and add a little oil. Place peppers into the pan and let them cook for a few minutes. Add tomato sauce and season it with salt and pepper. Cover and let come to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 40 minutes or until peppers are fork tender. Sprinkle cheese on top and serve with some sauce on the plate and over the peppers.








Spryte said...

Yum! That look great!!

Theresa said...

I'm not a big fan of stuffed peppers, but I do like this twist that you really kept me waiting on!!!! I like all the ingredients and a must try for me.

Michele said...

Thanks Spryte!

Theresa - You can just make the filling without the peppers if you don't like bell peppers.

Dawn said...

I am a huge fan of these, but hubby hates sausage (and yes he's Italian, go figure!). But I'm tempted to make them for me on my cheat days, as I love roasted peppers too. I eat them almost every morning with my eggs. Looks really good.

Teanna said...

I love your site!! I, too have an Italian Grandmother and they are just the cutest things in the world, no? This is a fantastic recipe and I LOVE broccoli rabe, so this is right up my alley!

Joe Ambrosino said...

Hi Michelle,
This is a great recipe with beautiful pictures.Have you ever tried it with aborio rice instead of orzo?

Michele said...

Dawn- my dad is italian and doesn't like a lot of onions or garlic!

Teanna - Thank you! Yes, they certainly are. I miss mine very much!

Joe - Thank you! I have not tried them with arborio rice but I do love risotto so I will probably try that next.

Brian said...

Hey michele, those looked so good I just had to make them myself... came out awesome as I knew it would and thanks, totally made me feel better as I'm a bit under the weather.

talk soon

Bob said...

Man, roasted peppers are another thing I wish my girlfriend would eat. Those look so good!

Lucy said...

Winning combination, just loving it..... your rocking girl!!!

Melissa said...

Everything in the pictures looks great! And the broccoli rabe sounds like a yummy combo with the stuffed peppers!

Kate said...

I have some broccoli rabe in the fridge right now. Thanks for reminding me about the pasta, my family makes a similar recipe, but I always forget about it since we usually just throw the broccoli rabe on some Italian bread and call it a day.

Stacey Snacks said...

I haven't visited in a while.
I love your recipes because it reminds me of why I love living in New Jersey.
All of your delicious recipes are from my growing up in NJ.