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.