You want to know what happens when you combine Mexican and Italian flavors? You end up with a feisty Italian sausage stuffed anaheim pepper loaded with attitude that's what.
As you no doubt are aware, peppers of any shape, color, size and description are flooding the market right now and they're incredibly fresh and inexpensive so I figured a frugal shopper such as myself should take advantage of the fact. If you want to know the truth, our friend Betty was looking for a chicken stuffed pepper recipe and that was enough inspiration for me. There's several stuffed pepper recipes on this blog and they're all pretty darn tasty if I do say so myself, but none of them are quite as unique as this one. There's not a spec of rice to be found and no tomatoes either. How's that for going against tradition?
Inspired by a Guy Fieri recipe, this stuffing could be used in any kind of pepper you like but I chose Anaheim's because we really like the extra kick. Prepped in advance so it can cool sufficiently to handle, the filling is made from hot Italian sausage, chopped onion, red pepper, garlic and cheese along with a touch of cream cheese to hold it all together. Placed inside seeded and de-veined peppers, the bundles are cradled in a rich creamy bechamel sauce.
Thirty-five to forty minutes in the oven and you've really got something to brag about. Just be sure to wear gloves when you're seeding the peppers or it'll plum take the joy right out of your evening. Just sayin'.
Italian Stuffed Anaheim Peppers (adapted from Guy Fieri, Foodnetwork.com)
8 Anaheim peppers
1 pound hot Italian sausage (chicken or pork)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/3 cup minced onion
1/2 sweet red pepper, minced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning
4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
4 tablespoons butter
3-1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk, warmed
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt and white pepper
Heat large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add vegetable oil and when shimmering add Italian sausage. Cook, crumbling with a fork until meat is no longer pink. Add onion, red pepper, garlic, red pepper flakes, and Italian seasoning. Cook for 5 minutes or until vegetables are softened and meat is well cooked. Remove to a bowl and add cream cheese and mozzarella cheese, stirring until cheeses are melted and mixture is well combined. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as necessary. Cover and refrigerate until cool.
Wearing gloves, wash and dry Anaheim peppers. Leave ends intact and slice peppers down center. Using a melon baller or small sharp spoon, remove seeds and veins. Set aside.
For béchamel sauce, heat butter in medium sized saucepan until butter has melted. Add flour and whisk until well combined. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly for 3 to 4 minutes until roux is a light golden color. Whisk in warmed milk and cook sauce until thickened and smooth – approximately another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Preheat oven to 350. Spray large casserole dish with cooking spray and place 1/3 of sauce on bottom of dish. Stuff peppers with sausage mixture and place in casserole on top of béchamel. Top peppers with remaining béchamel. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Serve with assorted salsa on the side. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Other stuffed pepper recipes you might enjoy from JBug's Kitchen:
A year ago - Shrimp Salad with Orange and Tarragon