People LOVE Stuffed Peppers. Why? It's not just because they are delicious. They are comfort. They are literally up there in the rafters of amazing comfort foods like macaroni and cheese and meatloaf.
The thing I think I love most about them is that you can make them ahead, like I'm talking night before ahead, cover them and boom throw them in the oven the next day and you have a home cooked meal on a busy night. You can make them in a pan with a lid and just sautee if you don't feel like turning on the oven. You can put them in the crockpot after just a short prep. And the end result is always the same.....DELICIOUS.
Remember this scene? Yeah, stuffed peppers do that to me. Thanks Mom.
Okay, but honestly, back to the main topic. My mom's stuffed peppers are ridiculously delicious. I love them, but of course, being the stubborn person I am, I made some changes and made them better. Don't tell my mother I said that, she's got a wicked arm with a wooden spoon and she's not afraid to whack me with one at 35 years old. Anyway, tweaking just a few things and boosting the flavor profiles make these stuffed peppers the best you'll ever make. Trust me, I'm rotund.
3 large green bell peppers, halved vertically
3 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1 lb ground beef, 85/15
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 fresh basil leaves, torn
1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tsp salt
1 cup tomato sauce (recipe below)
1 cup uncooked long grain rice, not instant
3 cups of beef stock
2 TBSP butter
1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano
6 slices fresh mozzarella
1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, minced finely
1 clove garlic, minced finely
1 28 oz can plain tomato sauce
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 beef bouillon cube
1/2 cup water
4 fresh basil leaves, torn
Fill a large pot with water, and place on high heat to come to a boil.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a medium saucepan, heat 1 TBSP olive oil and sautee 1/2 yellow onion and garlic until translucent. Add 1 can of tomato sauce, salt pepper, beef bouillon cube, water and fresh basil leaves. Cover with a lid and simmer on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally and adjusting salt and pepper after 15 minutes.
Place peppers on cutting board and slice in half from top to bottom, vertically, so that you have 2 identical halves. Gently pull out the seeds and rinse under cold water.
In a deep 12 inch skillet, over medium high flame, heat 3 TBSP olive oil and sautee 1 large onion, 3 cloves of garlic and red pepper flakes until onion and garlic are translucent. Add ground beef and chop up finely with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula and brown.
By this time your large pot of water should be boiling. Place six pepper halves into boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove and drain on a paper towel.
Add 1 cup of tomato sauce and fresh basil to ground beef mixture and combine well. Add 1 cup long grain rice and 3 cups of beef stock. Cover with a lid and simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring only once.
When rice is tender, turn off heat, stir in 2 TBSP of butter and 1/2 cup of parmigiano reggiano.
In a 9x13 baking dish, place 2-3 ladelfuls of sauce into the bottom. Lay halved peppers into the sauce and fill each pepper with the ground beef and rice mixture. I pile my peppers high, that's the beauty of halving the peppers, you can REALLY stuff them to the max. Top each pepper with a small amount of sauce and fresh mozzarella.
Bake at 375 uncovered for about 15 minutes. Enjoy!!!