Sunday, March 8, 2009

Peppers stuffed with Tomato Rice

For one of our recent family dinners in the apartment, I made roasted peppers stuffed with tomato rice. If you have leftover tomato rice and some peppers lying around, this makes for a quick, simple, and tasty dinner! Adjust this recipe for the number of people you will be serving.

2 batches Tomato Rice (recipe previously posted)
5 bell peppers (red, yellow, or green)
bread crumbs
grated Parmesan cheese
grated mozzarella cheese (or other melt-y cheese)

Remove the stems of the bell peppers and halve lengthwise. Rinse out the inside so there are no seeds. Turn a burner on your stove on high, and place each half of the pepper, cut side up, directly over the flame, resting on the burner itself. Leave until there are a few black scorch marks on the pepper. Once all peppers have been toasted, line them up in a 13x9 baking dish (you might need 2, depending on how big the peppers are). Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Fill each half with 2 heaping spoonfuls of tomato rice. Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of grated mozzarella, then 1 teaspoon bread crumbs, and finally 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan on each half. You can eyeball these amounts, and adjust based on your taste. Cook in the oven until cheese is bubbly and peppers soften. If using as a side dish, one half is enough per person; otherwise, serve 1 whole pepper per person.


Every Sunday night, the organization that I volunteer for, National Student Partnerships, has a volunteer training meeting where we discuss client meetings, talk about upcoming projects, or have an issue-specific training. This Sunday, instead of studying for my midterm on Monday (hello, senioritis), I made a little appetizer for the meeting. This recipe is a take on my friend Peter's Italian pinwheels (I forget what they're called in Italian), and also a recipe that I made with my cousin from Giada De Laurentiis' new cookbook. They're fast, easy, and you can fill them with anything you like! I made 2 batches of veggie pinwheels and 2 batches of meat pinwheels. 1 batch (meaning 1 pastry sheet) makes about 12-15 pinwheels.

1 sheet frozen puff pastry*

for the filling:
tomato sauce
sun dried tomatoes
mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese

Follow instructions on puff pastry box to defrost the pastry. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Once the puff pastry is thawed, unroll the sheet on a floured surface. Leaving about a half an inch on all sides of the pastry, fill with whatever you like, starting with sauce, such as tomato sauce or pesto. Add cheese, then spinach and sun dried tomatoes, or spinach and prosciutto. Really, anything goes. Roll up the pastry jelly-roll style, tucking in the ends. Using a pastry brush, spread a bit of egg on the closing flap of the roll to secure it, then brush a little bit of egg on top of the roll. Freeze the roll for about 45 minutes on a baking sheet. Remove from freezer and cut crosswise into 1/2 to 1 inch slices. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the slices on their sides, so that the filling is face-up. They will expand in the oven, so leave room on the baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes, and allow to cool slightly before transferring to a serving plate.

*You can substitute store-bought pizza dough as well, adjusting thawing process and baking temperature to the directions on the box or tube. Don't cut these before baking; instead, bake first, then cut into 2-inch slices.