Cooking and eating peppers is something relatively new in my house. The reason? Okay. I’m going to spit it out but please do not judge me too harshly. The ugly truth is that, when I was younger, I thought peppers where not sophisticated enough. When you are young, everything is either black or white and, consequently, the world was divided between what was chic and what was not, of course according to my own criteria, which I applied pretty much to everything, including food.
I used to go to the newest restaurants and indulge in the new trend – the huge misconception that rustic food was not cool.
They say that changing your mind is a sign of intelligence and that one of the advantages of aging is getting wiser. Well, especially when I look at my wrinkles, I like to flatter myself by thinking that I totally fall into both categories of clever and wise people.
Anyway, regardless of what I think of myself :-), the bottom line is that I “opened up” my mind to peppers and I was amazed to find out how great their taste can be. Their full texture can satisfy any kind of palate from the more basic to the chicest. I’m so regretting all those years when I simply dismissed them as not “worthy”!!! Such a waste of time!
We are having a gorgeous weather where I am in Italy and I think that the vibrant colors of the peppers go very well with the brilliant colors of the landscape that surrounds me right now. That’s how I picked today’s dish, whose recipe – once again – comes from my mommy’s kitchen.
I hope everyone is enjoying their summer.
about 21 oz, ground beef
3 white bread slices
1/2 cup, whole milk
8 Tbsp, extravirgin olive oil
8 Tbsp, grated parmigiano cheese
2 cups, tomato sauce
some parsley leaves, finely chopped
Ground black pepper
Cut the tops of the peppers off and set them aside. With the help of a knife, remove the seeds and the membranes and rinse the peppers under cold water. Place the peppers in a large casserole, add 6 Tbsp of olive oil in the casserole and set aside.
Cut off the green top of the leeks and the root. Discard the outer layer. Cut the leeks in half lengthwise. Rinse the halves well under water, being careful to leave them intact. Place each half, with the flat side facing down, on a chopping board.
Slice the leeks thinly and evenly. In a skillet, heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil, add the leeks, season with salt and pepper (to taste) and toss to coat. Add some water and stir occasionally until the water evaporates. Set aside and let the leeks cool.
In a bowl, pour the milk and soak the bread into the milk.
In a large mixing bowl, using your hands combine the ground beef, the eggs, the chopped parsley and the Parmesan cheese. With your hands, squeeze the bread and add it to the meat mixture. Add the leeks, some salt and pepper (to taste) and combine with your hands.
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Stuff the peppers with the meat mixture, place the pepper tops on the meat mixture and pour the tomato sauce over the stuffed peppers.
Put an aluminum foil on top of the stuffed peppers and bake them for 35/40 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and keep baking for an additional 10/15 minutes or until the peppers are tender.