If you are looking for a hearty, flavorful meal that everyone is going to gobble up, then you just found it! Italian Stuffed Peppers are a delicious combination of orzo pasta, Italian sausage, tomatoes, ricotta and mozzarella cheeses. My whole family loves bell peppers so I am always trying to find new ways to use them. Then it occurred to me that I didn’t need to reinvent the wheel here, just change up a tried and true one!
Orzo pasta is so versatile, it works hot or cold. It makes a delicious stuffing component as well. It mixes in with the ricotta, crushed tomatoes and Italian sausage so thoroughly. And it also makes it so the stuffing makes it into all the nooks and crannies of the bell pepper.
I like to turn the peppers into bowls instead of just lopping off the tops and filling it like a cup for a few reasons. First off, you don’t have to worry about the peppers falling over on their uneven bottoms (though you can combat that issues by using an extra large muffin tin). Secondly, you make it easier to portion out, as they are already halved. I, personally, can’t eat a whole bell pepper and neither can my younger two kiddos. Another reason is – MORE CHEESE! With more surface area, you get to pile on more mozzarella and who doesn’t love that?
Since this is such a hearty, heavy recipe, I try to make a light side dish. The simplest way to go is a quick Caesar salad. If you want something a little extra, you can do a cucumber and tomato salad. I like to make mine with a balsamic vinegar, honey, and oil and it is so so good.
Now Let’s Get Cookin’!
Italian Stuffed Peppers
- 8 Bell Peppers (red or green) Halved and seeded
- 2 lb Italian Sausage
- 1 lb Orzo
- 16 oz Ricotta Cheese
- 1 cup Parmesan Cheese grated
- 4 Garlic Cloves minced
- 1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
- 1 tsp Italian Seasoning
- 1 15oz can Crushed Tomatoes
- 1 tsp Basil
- 2 cups Mozzarella Cheese shredded
- Prepare all of the ingredients. Preheat oven to 400 deg. Start water boiling for pasta.
- In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, add Italian sausage. Cook and crumble until no longer pink. Drain off excess grease and transfer to mixing bowl.
- Add Orzo to boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. Drain in colander and rinse with cool water to arrest the cooking process. Add to bowl with sausage.
- Add ricotta, parmesan, garlic, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes to sausage. Stir to combine.
- Lay each bell pepper half out on a parchment paper covered baking sheet. Fill each with a portion of the sausage mixture. Sprinkle each with mozzarella cheese and then basil. Bake in oven for 20 minutes.
Estelle Forrest’s self-published first cookbook – Homemade on a Weeknight: A Family Cookbook – was created after a lot of playing around in the kitchen. You can purchase your own copy here:
Estelle self-published a second cookbook – Burgers on a Weeknight – recently. It has over 60 delicious burger creations! You can purchase your own copy here:
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