Feast your eyes
It is no secret that the food on my table reflects my personal palette of bold colors and flavors in rustic fashion. There is delight in how we find joy in the visual feast of primary colors, simplistic presentation that invites us to just dig in with relish. And so it is with my cooking style, often on a wing and a prayer that the concoction before us reflects what swirled in my mindful vision.
When we cook at home for ourselves, there is a freedom to let fly and see what happens (if you are lucky enough that your dining partners are as willing as the cook to accept the consequences.) I know that isn’t true for many families with picky eaters and dietary restrictions, but even with that, cooking with your known parameters can be a basis to creativity within those bounds, if we but try.
The tenets that my Dad followed; variety on each plate, flavors that compliment, and a spot of color gives wide berth to the creative muse inside. No froo-froo presentation, but good honest food that lets the ingredients sing in their own glory. Thus so it is with simple stuffed bell peppers.
Ingredients vary on mood and what is on hand. Tonight’s version is vibrant in color and taste. A pepper play with added serrano and long Italian peppers, fire roasted tomatoes, Israeli couscous, onion and sweet Italian sausage. Topped with pepperjack cheese and fresh basil.
- 1 tbl. Olive Oil
- 3 Bell Peppers (2 for stuffing, 1/2 cup for filling)
- 1/2 lb Sweet Italian Sausage
- 1/4 cup Red Onion chopped
- 1 15 oz can Roasted Tomatoes and Juice
- 1 Serrano Chili
- 1 Italian Long Pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh Oregano (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)
- 1 teaspoon fresh Basil chopped
- 1 cup Israeli Couscous
- 1 cup Water
- Kosher salt
- Ground Black Pepper
- 1/2 cup grated Pepperjack Cheese
- Fresh Basil for garnish
- Yellow or Red Grape Tomatoes
Preheat oven to 350 and heat skillet to medium high. Add olive oil and begin to brown sausage. Add onion, peppers and chilies to soften, continue cooking for several minutes. Add herbs, tomatoes and water bring to a boil and put in couscous. cover and cook for 15 minutes or so until couscous is cooked and some of the liquid is absorbed. Taste for salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
Slice 2 peppers in half lengthwise and stuff with filling. Add grape tomatoes on top (sliced in half) and 1/8 cup of pepperjack cheese. Bake for about 30-45 minutes until heated through and desired softness of outer pepper. I like mine with a little tooth, some folks like them softer. Up to you. Chop some fresh basil for brightness and sprinkle on top.