4 Italian cubanelle (frying) peppers
Olive oil cooking spray
8 ounces 96% lean ground beef (used ground pork)
Freshly ground black pepper
8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 cup steamed brown rice (used cooked red quinoa)
3/4 cup no fat, sodium , or sugar added tomatoes, such as Pomi
1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
1 ounce fresh mozzarella, cut into 8 equal-size chunks
1/4 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs, such as Ian’s All Natural
*1-2 teaspoon hot paprika
Preheat an outdoor grill or grill pan over medium-heat. Preheat the oven to 400F.
Place the peppers on the grill or grill pan. Cook them all sides just until you see the water under the skin starting to bubble, about 1 minute. Move the peppers to a wire rack to cool. The peppers should be slightly cooked but still have a structure.
Coat a large nonstick skillet with 4 seconds of olive oil spray and place over high heat. Season the beef with salt and pepper and spread the meat over the hot pan in an even layer. Brown the meat on one side, about 2 minutes. Break up the meat with a wooden spoon and move to one side of the skillet.
Add the garlic to the exposed part of the skillet and cook until golden brown, about 1 minute. Add the rice and tomatoes to the skillet and cook until the mixture is very thick, about 2 minutes, Using a heat-resistant rubber spatula, transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add three-quarters of the Parmigiano and season with salt and pepper.
Remove the stem and seeds of each pepper by cutting through them lengthwise just below the steam, being careful to keep them in whole halves.
Place the cut peppers in a 13x9x2-inch baking pan.
Fill a cut pepper halfway up with a small spoonful of beef mixture. Place a chunk of mozzarella in the middle, then continue to fill the pepper, leaving 1/4 inch at the top. Repeat with the rest of the peppers.
Place the panko in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the top of the peppers with the panko. Spray the top of each pepper with 1 second of cooking spray, then place in the oven and bake until panko is golden and crisp, the peppers are heated through, and the cheese is melted, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle hot paprika on top of the peppers.
Place 2 peppers halves on each of small plates and sprinkle the remaining Parmigiano on top. Spoon any juices from the bottom of the baking dish around the peppers.
*Stuffed peppers are like one dish meal or more like one stuffed pepper meal. I did a few changes, I used quinoa instead of rice and ground pork instead of beef. In the beginning of the procedure it asked to grill the peppers instead I baked it for a couple of minutes until it starts to blister. I also sprinkled hot paprika on top of the peppers when it was done. I love Rocco’s take on the dish, he doesn’t sacrifice taste of the dish but still keep the calories under 350. enJOY!!!