If you can keep your kitchen a little bit organized, and manage two or three hot pans at once, the prep for this delicious meal could be quick… Did I just scare you with that? Does your stove even fit two or three pans at once? Have no fear, this is an amazingly delicious meal and it requires just a tiny bit of pre-oven prep for the peppers and the filling.
The peppers … Your final product will taste much better if you parboil your peppers first. Parboiling just means drop your cleaned out peppers in boiling water for a few minutes to soften them up. Easy. One big pot of boiling water. Drain your peppers on a cutting board or even in your casserole pan.
The filling … For this recipe, I combined Italian sausage, chopped tomatoes, cheese, and cooked rice for the filling. If you have leftover cooked rice, you can skip the step of making rice. If not, you will need to make some rice. The Italian sausage and garlic and onions and tomatoes will need to be cooked in another pan.
Worst case scenario – three pans. But you totally got this. No big deal. Definitely worth the final product!
Why just a half pepper? I have made baked stuffed peppers stuffing an entire pepper but I have realized that a more appropriate serving size for kids and adults is to split the peppers in half. The added bonus of stuffing half peppers instead of full, hollowed out peppers is that there is way more space for the cheesy top layer. More cheese can never be a bad thing, right?
Italian Baked Stuffed Peppers
- 4 to 5 large peppers (any color)
- 1 cup uncooked rice (makes about 2 cups prepared)
- 1 small onion , chopped
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic , chopped
- 1 lb . Italian sausage , crumbled
- 3 to 4 whole tomatoes , chopped
- 1/2 cup marinara sauce or pizza sauce or tomato sauce
- 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (for the top)
- Parboil the peppers by coring them, cleaning out the seeds and then dropping them (whole or cut in half) into a large pot of boiling water for about 5 minutes. Let drain.
- Cook the rice. Set aside.
- Combine the Italian sausage, onions, and garlic in a heavy bottomed pan. Cook until the Italian sausage is cooked through.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and marinara sauce to the cooked Italian sausage and cook for about 10 minutes until the tomatoes break down. Stir well.
- Combine the cooked rice, parmesan cheese, and Italian sausage and tomatoes in one large pot.
- Lay the peppers evenly in a deep 9 x 12 casserole dish.
- Fill the peppers with Italian sausage.
- Top with shredded cheddar cheese.
- Cook for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees.