Roasted Ricotta-Stuffed Peppers
As stuffed, roasted peppers go, this is one of the easier recipes, and the ricotta cheese stuffing makes for a nice change from the usual stuffing of rice. Plus this is a rare, healthy stuffed pepper recipe: it's low-fat, low-sodium, low-carb -- but BIG on flavour and "fillingness." Feel free to mix up the colours of the bell peppers you use -- red, orange, yellow, green, etc. Allow two pepper halves per person along with a chop or a chicken breast and maybe one other veg; ½ per person if you're serving with several other things. This is low enough on prep time that it's practical for a weekday night. The recipe is easily doubled.
- Put the ricotta cheese in a large mixing bowl, along with a few grinds of fresh pepper to taste.
- Wash the lemon, and zest the surface of half of it. [Tip: put the rest of the lemon back in the fridge for another use.] Add the lemon zest to the ricotta cheese in the bowl.
- Dice the onion, the tomato and the garlic. Place in a frying pan along with a tablespoon of oil, and a teaspoon or two of a dried herb such as basil or oregano. Sauté lightly for 5 to 10 minutes. The goal is not to cook the onion and tomato (the oven cooking time will do that); it's just to kick start and marry the flavours. When done, remove from heat, and let cool about 5 minutes.
- Wash peppers, cut in half height-wise, scrape out the seeds and white pith and remove stems. Rinse under running water to get rid of all seeds, shake or pat dry. Then rub, brush or toss the pepper halves in oil to coat them inside and out. Lay out the peppers cavity-side up on a board, ready to be stuffed.
- Start oven heating to 180 C / 350 F / Gas Mark 4.
- Add the onion and tomato mixture to the cheese, and mix well (hands are best), then stuff each of the pepper halves with the mixture (again, hands are best.)
- Drizzle a bit of oil on top of the pepper halves, then place into oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until the sides are quite soft.
Tip! If you feel you want more liquid for the sautéing, try a splash of wine (white or red), some cooking spray, or some broth or stock. Tip! Make the filling mixture up to a day ahead.
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