I have to tell you...I have made stuffed peppers a few different ways, either with rice and hamburg, or fresh bread cubed with cheese, garlic, fresh basil and italian breadcrumbs and sauce....but tonight's recipe is the all-time winner! It had to be the croutons. I can't think of anything else I put in that could have given it the flavor and crunch that it had! So, folks, sit back, take notes, and enjoy!
So, a few of the major ingredients: Ceasar Salad croutons...
who knew that these little suckers would be the highlight of this recipe! Throw a whole bunch of them in a pan with some olive oil and saute. I ended up adding more croutons at the end, just because they were so good and there didn't seem to be enough! They absorb the oil, get even more crunchy, and give this dish the majority of its flavor! when they are done, dump them in a bowl.
Next, cook a package of sweet italian sausage, removed from their casings and brake up.
When done, add to the croutons that you have dumped into a bowl. Next cut up some zucchini and saute in the same pan, but for only about 5 minutes. You just want to begin to cook them. When done, in the bowl! Next saute some onion, approximately 1 medium sized...when done, in the bowl. Now add cut up cherry tomatoes, cut up small fresh mozzarella balls, fresh basil, parsley, salt and pepper, parm cheese, and fresh garlic (do not cook the tomatoes or mozzarella!). It is at this point you need to start dipping your fingers in and tasting. What does it need? Can you taste the garlic? the fresh basil? does it need a little more salt and pepper? You should be able to define some major flavors! I used fresh basil, dried basil, parsley, salt and pepper, and fresh garlic.
When you absolutely have a heart attack because this tastes so good....that is when you stuff your red peppers! Mix up some chicken broth with some pasta sauce. Pour this in the bottom of a deep roasting pan. Lay the peppers in the sauce, cover with foil and bake at 350 for approximately 30 minutes. Take a look, and if they don't feel soft enough, leave the cover off and cook for another 15 minutes. You want them to be really tender. At this point, you could throw on some grated mozarella cheese for the last 10 minutes in the oven.
These have to be my all-time favorite stuffed peppers! You, of course, can always add anything you like! Just keep tasting it to make sure it not too bland! you could use hot sausages, or different spices. I really hope you enjoyed this recipe! It steps outside the box a bit, but you will see that it is ok to do that!!!!