Have you seen these baby bell peppers all over the place recently? I have. Brightly colored, about 3-4 inches long, they're happy, cute, and as I found out, oh so sweet! I'd never cooked with them before and frankly, bell peppers of any size aren't something I cook with at all. But, these little gems were so appealing in their size and color, that I grabbed some on impulse, stuffed them, and threw them in the oven. The results were so good, it's a pity that I hadn't bought more and made twice as many!
This will be perfect come spring and summer, (assuming I can still find the little buggers), as an easy hors de oeuvre or appetizer. Not only are they yummy, but even cooked, they are incredibly tempting to the eye. We eat with our eyes too, remember. As my husband pointed out, this would also be wonderful if you had access to a grill and could char the peppers for a minute before stuffing and baking.
This recipe will make 8-12 peppers depending on their size.
Ricotta-Stuffed Baby Peppers
3/4 cup ricotta (whole or part skim, doesn't matter)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
Zest of one small-medium lemon
1/2 cup fresh, chopped chives
Salt & Pepper to taste
8-12 baby bell peppers
Olive oil or cooking spray
-Preheat oven to 400. Cut the stems off of the peppers and using a small spoon, scrape out all seeds and pith, (the white stuff on the pepper ribs).
-In a bowl, mix Parmesan, ricotta, zest, and chives very well. Taste before seasoning with salt and pepper.
-Spray a baking dish with cooking spray or wipe down with olive oil. Stuff the peppers with the ricotta mixture making sure to really get into every curve and crevice. Using the handle of the spoon will help with this, especially with the smaller peppers.
-Place stuffed peppers onto the baking dish and roll them around to get a thin layer of oil on the surface. The filling will ooze a bit when you bake, so be sure to give them room.
-Bake for approximately 20 minutes until you can smell the peppers and the flesh is tender.