Orzo & Cheese-Stuffed Bell Peppers

I just love this vegetarian style stuffed pepper recipe.  I was able to find a gluten-free orzo available here:  http://www.delallo.com/catalog/gluten-free-pasta.  Peppers are surprisingly nutritious:  green bell peppers contain twice the vitamin C of citrus and red bell peppers contain three times the vitamin C of citrus and over ten times the amount of beta carotene found in a green pepper.

Stuffed Peppers with Orzo
Orzo & Cheese-Stuffed Bell Peppers

2 tbs. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 c. sliced mushrooms
1/2 c. shredded summer squash
1/2 c. shredded carrots
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 (15 oz.) container part-skim ricotta cheese
1 c. orzo or rice (I have found gluten free orzo-DeLallo brand
1 egg, beaten
2 tbs. minced fresh parsley
1 tbs. thinly sliced fresh basil leaves or 1/4 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. salt
Dash of freshly ground black pepper
4 large bell peppers (color, your choice)
1 1/2 c. tomato pasta sauce
1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Heat oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion, mushrooms, squash and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are firmly tender, about 6-8 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook, stirring for 1 minute.  Set aside.

Combine ricotta, orzo or rice, egg, parsley, basil or marjoram, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.  Stir in vegetable mixture.

Remove stems and seeds from pepper halves.  Divide the cheese-vegetable  mixture among the pepper halves.

Pour about half of the pasta sauce in the bottom of a 13 x 9 inch baking pan.  Arrange stuffed pepper halves in pan and spoon some of the remaining sauce over the peppers.  Cover with foil and bake 40-45 minutes or until filling is hot and peppers are firm-tender.
Uncover and sprinkle peppers with cheese.  Bake 10 minutes, or until peppers are tender and cheese is melted.

Makes 4 servings.

This recipe is from Sharon Claessens book, “The No-Tofu Vegetarian Cookbook”


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