4 medium-size red bell peppers
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 pound Italian sausage, casings removed and meat crumbled
4 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
15 black olives, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 cup hot water
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Cut each pepper in half lengthwise. Remove the stem, seeds, and ribs.
Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add the peppers to the
boiling water and cook for 4-5 minutes. Drain and set the peppers aside to
In a large sauté pan over medium- low heat, warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Add the onion and sauté until just beginning to brown, about 4-5 minutes.
Add the celery and sauté another 2-3 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a plate
and set aside.
Add the crumbled sausage to the pan over medium heat and cook until lightly
browned, about 10 minutes. Add the onion mixture and diced tomatoes to the
pan and cook 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in olives, and season with
salt and pepper.
Arrange the peppers, cut side up, in a baking dish in which they can fit in a
single layer. Spoon the sausage mixture into the peppers, dividing it evenly
among them. Top each pepper with some of the bread crumbs and drizzle
with the remaining olive oil.
Pour the hot water into the dish but not on the peppers.
Bake, uncovered, until the crumbs are golden brown, about 40 minutes.
Transfer the peppers to a platter and serve.
A rustic dish that can be assembled several hours ahead of time, refrigerated, and baked
before serving. Chicken or turkey sausage would also be delicious in this colorful dish.
Vegetarians can substitute beans, rice, or another grain, such as farro, for the sausage.
Sauteing onions until soft, 5 to 10 minutes,
is the first step in many recipes. The
reason is that softened onions add body
and sweetness. Browning onions, 10 to 15
minutes, gives the onions a deeper flavor
that makes them great with sauteed
greens or in a savory tart. Lowering the
heat and cooking the onions for 30 minutes
or more will caramelize them. Longer
cooking brings out the onion's sweet side.
Caramelized onions are nice on pizza or in