Recipe:Orzo-stuffed peppers

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 2D

Serves: 4 to 6

Writes Giada De Laurentiis: "I love to prepare and serve stuffed peppers because they make such a beautiful presentation. When you cut into them and the delicious filling spills out, it's like getting a present. My mother is also partial to stuffed peppers, which she fills with vegetables, meat, pasta – almost anything." Recipe from "Giada's Kitchen: New Italian Favorites" by Giada De Laurentiis.

INGREDIENTS

1 (28-ounce) can Italian tomatoes

2 medium zucchini, grated

1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves

1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for sprinkling

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 1/2 cups orzo (rice-shaped pasta)

6 sweet bell peppers (red or yellow)

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Pour the tomatoes and their juices into a large bowl and break them into pieces using a pair of kitchen shears or your fingertips. Add the zucchini, mint, cheese, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

Meanwhile, bring the chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the orzo and cook for 4 minutes. The orzo will be only partially cooked. Drain the orzo through a sieve, reserving the chicken broth, and add the orzo to the large bowl with the vegetables. Stir to combine. Transfer the warm chicken broth to a 3-quart baking dish.

Slice the tops off the peppers and remove all ribs and seeds. Cut a very thin slice from the base to help the peppers stand up.

Spoon the orzo mixture into the peppers. Place the peppers in the baking dish with the warm chicken broth. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle each pepper with cheese, and continue baking until the cheese is golden, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully transfer the stuffed peppers to serving plates. Garnish with basil, if desired.

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