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Monday, January 3, 2011

Meatless Monday: Orzo Stuffed Peppers

This month, I'm taking a few recipes from Giada's Kitchen and making them for my family. A friend said to me, the woman (Giada) can not cook/bake without parmesan or lemon and I'm almost half tempted to go through the book and see where she doesn't use one or the other in a recipe.

Growing up, my mother was famous for her stuffed green peppers. They take some time but are so so good. I have only made them a handful of time but they always transport me back to sitting in our old house in Omaha, eating dinner as a family. When I ran across orzo stuffed peppers in the cookbook, I thought it would make an awesome Meatless Monday dish.

How does it taste? Amazing. Just ask my husband who ate seconds and even at the leftovers. The marriage of tomatoes, mint, garlic and orzo -- yum.

image courtesy of
Orzo Stuffed Peppers From Giada's Kitchen (recipe from

1 (28-ounce) can Italian tomatoes
2 zucchini, grated
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano, plus more for sprinkling (used parmesan)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups chicken broth (for true meatless monday use veggie)
1 1/2 cups orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
6 sweet bell peppers (red or yellow)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Pour the tomatoes into a large bowl and break apart using a pair of kitchen shears or your finger tips. 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 saucepanover high heat. Add the orzo and cook for 4 minutes. The orzo should be only partially cooked. Use a fine mesh sieve to transfer the orzo to the large bowl with the other vegetables. Stir the orzo into the vegetable mix 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.

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

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