Cheese-capped Yellow Peppers Filled with Tomatoes

These golden yellow pepper boats with their surprise red tomato filling are a treat for a winter first course. They can be kept warm for an hour or more in a really low oven before eating.

Ingredients

  • 25 g/1 oz butter
  • 1 heaped tablespoon plain flour
  • 150 ml/¼ pint milk
  • 100 g/4 oz red Leicester cheese, grated
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 900 g/2 lb plum tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • about 12 fresh sage leaves
  • 3 medium to large yellow or orange peppers
  • a little butter
  • salt
  • black pepper

Method

To make the topping, melt the butter in a pan, remove from the heat and stir in the flour. Gradually stir in the milk. Return to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring all the time. Let the sauce bubble, still stirring, for 2-3 minutes until very thick. Then add the red Leicester and remove from the heat. Stir until the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth. Stir in a generous sprinkling of Parmesan, then season.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Put the tomatoes into a bowl, pour boiling water over them and leave for 2 minutes, then drain, peel and cut up fairly small. Peel the garlic and slice thinly. Roughly chop the sage. Mix the tomatoes, garlic and sage together and season.

Cut the peppers in half lengthways and discard the seeds and stems. Arrange the peppers fairly close together in a large, shallow ovenproof dish. Spoon the tomato mixture into them and then spoon the cheese sauce on top, completely covering the tomatoes. Sprinkle with more Parmesan, dot with butter and cook in the oven for 1-1¼ hours, until the peppers feel soft when you insert a knife. Serve hot or warm.

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