Thursday, August 29, 2013

Rice and Squid Stuffed Peppers

If you are into food blogs, I imagine that you have at some point spent time on Smitten Kitchen. It's one of more well known out there, and a recent post there for rice stuffed tomatoes caught my attention. However, with an abundance of bell peppers coming in over the last few weeks, as well as the pepper plants in my garden starting to produce (yes, despite the fact that I'm getting a half-bushel of vegetables every week from the farm that I can barely keep up with, it seemed like a good idea to ALSO plant a vegetable garden) I realized I needed to get working on this pepper backlog and now was the perfect time to go for a meal of stuffed peppers. 

I still wanted to use a tomato/rice mixture based on the Smitten Kitchen recipe as the stuffing, but since the plan was to have this as a stand alone meal, I was worried that it would not be filling enough as is. Adding some seafood to the rice seemed like a good answer and I picked squid because it pairs so well with tomato, and anyway, seafood risottos are a favorite at my house.

Given a choice I would have picked a sweeter (red, orange) bell pepper for this dish, but green was what I had to work with. In the end though, the slightly bitter taste of the green bell pepper paired pretty well with the sweetness from the tomato used to cook the rice and if I make this again in the future, I may purposely seek out green peppers. Its always fun when the necessity of using an ingredient on hand results in a something tasty that you never would have discovered otherwise!

Share Contents Used
Bell Peppers

2 tbs olive oil
1/2 lb fresh squid, cleaned and coarsely chopped
3 medium to large sized bell peppers
3-4 plum tomatoes, peeled and pureed (you want about 2 cups of the puree)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1/2 cup risotto rice (arborio or similar)
Salt and Pepper

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Wash the bell peppers and then use a thin knife to cut around the stem to remove the top of the pepper. Use your hand to remove any seeds that are still hanging on to the insides of the pepper. Discard the tops and seeds and arrange the pepper bodies in a baking dish so the openings face up, then set aside. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and then add the onion, garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring often until the onion has softened a bit, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the oil, allowing the grains to toast for another few minutes. Add the tomato puree, water and season with salt and pepper. Cover and let the mixture simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally until the rice is almost cooked through, about 15 minutes. You want just a tiny bit of bite left at the center of the grain as the rice will continue to cook in the oven. Stir in the chopped squid and cook for 2-3 minutes more, season to taste with salt and pepper then remove the pan from the heat. Spoon the risotto into the peppers then sprinkle with breadcrumbs (use panko if you have them for extra crunch) and drizzle a bit of olive oil over each. Bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes until the peppers are cooked through and starting to wrinkle. Let the peppers stand to cool slightly before serving.


Sara said...

Wow! These pics are beautiful. I sorta want a green pepper now.

Benjamin Aitken said...

Yes, the lighting was working in my favor that day (for a change). Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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