When I tell people that like to cook, the number one question I get asked is "What is your favorite thing to make?" or "What is your go-to?" and I always have a hard time answering.
My answer almost always involves a series of questions that I either say to myself, or out loud, to qualify my response: Am I cooking for just me or a group? What season is it? What is in the fridge/pantry already?
But. I do have a few repeat recipes. One of those repeats is these DELICIOUS "any-theme" stuffed peppers.
The particular version I am sharing in this post is Italian. I have also made Mexican-themed, or spicy sausage versions as well.
INGREDIENTS: serves 4-8 (depending on appetites and desire for leftovers)
4 bell peppers cut in half (I loathe green peppers, so I picked red, yellow and orange, but green would work too)
1 medium yellow/white onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large package fresh mozzarella cheese (example)
1 lb. lean ground beef (could use ground turkey or Italian sausage too)
6-7 leaves fresh basil
1 cup (gluten free) unseasoned bread crumbs (I use Glutino)
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large skillet on medium-high heat, brown ground beef. Once cooked through, place ground beef onto a paper towel-lined plate to cool (and soak up excess oil). In the oils left by the beef, saute the onions, until translucent, then add the garlic to the onions to cook for 1-2 more minutes. Set onions and garlic aside with ground beef to cool.
While the ground beef mixture cools, cut eight slices (one for each pepper half) from the fresh mozzarella and set aside. Cut the remaining mozzarella into cubes.
In a large bowl, combine the ground beef mixture, cubed mozzarella cheese, breadcrumbs and egg until just incorporated.
Arrange peppers (as pictured) in a large baking dish, open side up. Using a big spoon, fill each pepper with ground beef mixture. Top each pepper with a slice of mozzarella cheese.
Cover baking dish with aluminum foil. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove foil and return to the oven for 4-6 minutes until cheese is golden brown. Top with chopped fresh basil.