Saturday, February 16, 2008

Nothing says 'I Love You' like Stuffed Peppers

On Valentine's Day, Dean took me out to a lovely dinner. I volunteered to return the favor and cook him a big Italian meal on Saturday night. My husband is 100% Italian (imagine!), and in his family, nothing says love quite like a pot of homemade sauce. So, I set out to spread the love.

Good thing I grocery shopped on Friday, because most of Saturday was spent in the kitchen. I made chicken parmesan, pasta, salad, and stuffed peppers. This was my second shot at making stuffed peppers, one of his family's favorite dishes. You know it is a special occasion (or a good day) when his mom or Nana are frying them up on the stove. Last year for Dean's birthday, I called his Nana, and she gave me the recipe. Here it is:

Go to an Italian market in your area (sometimes Publix has them) and buy a jar of green and red sweet peppers. They should be plum-sized and soaking in vinegar. There are about 12 good peppers per jar. De-seed and de-stem them (cut a circle around the top and pull out the stem.) Rinse them very well to remove all the vinegar.

Take a 5-6 slices of white bread, and crumble them on the largest holes of the grater. It will feel a little awkward at first to "grate" soft white bread, but it works. (Watch your fingers.)

You will have a nice pile of bread crumbs as your base for the stuffing.

Add salt, pepper, 1 clove of garlic (I used garlic powder), parsley flakes, and "2 handfuls" of grated Romano Italian cheese (Nana uses Kraft). Beat one egg and mix in, sprinkle a little olive oil and a drop or two of milk to make it soft. Dean likes it with raisins and pine nuts, which add lots of flavor, so I mixed these in as well, but they are optional.

Then, mix it with your hands or a fork. You want it to have the same soft, wet consistency as hamburger meat. I like using my hands (I feel authentic:). My wedding rings sat this step out.


Stuff the peppers using a spoon.

In a frying pan, heat 1/2 cup of corn oil on low to medium heat. Add about 6 peppers at a time and fry them open-side down first. This seals in the stuffing.

Brown each side of the peppers slowly. You want each side to cook until it is wrinkly. This takes some time. I made 13 today, and I was at the frying pan for an hour, turning them from side to side. But it is so worth it!

Tip (or bad idea, I'm not sure which): I lean the peppers on their side against the 'walls' of the pan to get the sides to cook. Or against each other. The trick is getting a round object to stand on its side. Tricky!

When all sides are sufficiently wrinkled, you are done. Serve with Italian bread for a snack or along with your meal.


Mmmm! They look a little crazy (the raisins aren't photogenic, you must excuse them), but boy are they delicious!! Manga, manga!!

Now, that's Amore!

6 comments:

Orderly Conduct said...

you are so awesome!!! GO GIRL! i'm sure deano loved those!

xoxo

Heather said...

oohh they look good! you're such a great wife to your Italian man ... :)

The Nester said...

Hey girl!

How fun that you know John! About the china--no the hutch or traditional china cab is never out! Just play around with how you will display them and have fun! Don't be afraid to pull them out when you need them and then put little flowers or something to fill the space when guests are over.

Those peppers you made look fantastic!

GB said...

I am in shock! I had no idea that you were taking on such grandiose challenges! You are quite the little wife/cook/recipe explainer and ... comic, of course! I love you.
A.G.

GB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
emily said...

Katherine!!!! Hi, girl! I see the Nester has already commented here. I kinda like her :) Did you know her from CIU, too? I can't remember. Anyway...thanks so much for saying hi. I'm so glad to have found you! I can't wait to read your blog.

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