Duo of Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients

  • about 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil basil leaves, to garnish

For the Peppers with Mozzarella and Anchovy

  • 2 red sweet peppers
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 225g/8 oz buffalo Mozzarella cheese
  • 8 canned anchovies in oil, drained

For the Piedmontese Peppers with Pesto

  • 2 yellow sweet peppers
  • 4 small plum or 12 cherry tomatoes
  • 4 tsp Pesto

Utensils

Method

Mise en Place

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas4 • Carefully cut each pepper in half, first cutting through the stem so that each half has the stem attached. Before cutting, look at how the pepper is shaped because you want the two halves to sit like boats. Clean the insides of the peppers of all pith and seeds. Any seeds which stick tenaciously can be removed by upending the half pepper and tapping it sharply on a work surface. Arrange the red pepper halves in an ovenproof dish in which they just fit snugly so that they will hold each other upright (Play around until they all sit securely.) Repeat with the yellow pepper halves in the other dish.

To prepare the Peppers with Mozzarella and Anchovy: peel and finely chop the garlic. Sprinkle it evenly into the red pepper halves and add a good tablespoon of olive oil to each. Brush the edges and stems with more oil. Grind over some pepper.

To prepare the Piedmontese Peppers with Pesto: if using plum tomatoes, skin them by immersing in boiling water for 30 seconds, refreshing in cold water and then peeling them with a small sharp knife. Spoon the pesto into the base of each pepper half. Place 1 plum tomato or 3 cherry tomatoes on top and trickle over a tablespoon of olive oil. Brush the edges and stems of the peppers with more oil and grind over some black pepper.

Cooking

Cook the peppers in the oven for about 45 minutes. By that time the peppers should have wilted and started to char around the edges. Oil will spill into the roasting dishes, so check from time to time that they are not frying and burning. If you feel this is happening, add a tablespoon of water to the roasting dish.

Turn up the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas7 and remove the peppers. Spoon the oil-and juices from the pans back into the peppers. Set the Piedmontese Peppers aside to cool at this point.

Slice the Mozzarella and place a slice in each of the red pepper halves. Arrange the anchovies criss-cross on each slice. Spoon over any remaining pan juices and return to oven. When the cheese has melted and is bubbling they are ready .

Serving

If serving this dish on its own, serve each person one of each type of pepper. Use plain white plates for maximum visual impact and strew with tom basil leaves. Good bread is essential to mop up the juices which are the real joy of this simple dish.

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