Read It in: Italian

Recycling cuisine

The most fragrant, colourful and beautiful vegetables of summer are peppers. They have very few calories and many virtues. Here in Sicily people believe that the only way to taste them is to prepare them stuffed with a filling and, later, fry them. The stuffed peppers usually act as a lift, in a ups and downs that hinders digestion. How to reduce the feeling of heaviness? Not everyone knows that, once the film that covers them has been removed, the discomfort decreases considerably.

Peppers are delicious cooked in every way: with pasta, with potatoes in the soup, in the cous cous, with rice, with chicken… and what about italian peperonata!

Stuffed peppers: options

There are two recipes with stuffed peppers in Sicily: with meat and with sicilian raisin passolina, pine nuts, capers and salted sardines. Some people replace sardines with salami, others put olives, or bind with beaten egg, and so on. There is always plenty of pecorino or caciocavallo cheese, both grated and in pieces. Moreover, it is compulsory breadcrumbs (a muddica in sicilian dialect), toasted or not.

These two preparations give life of two different versions. Of course, all are very good and require moderation in eating them, especially if you choose to fry them.

picture of filled peppers wit potatoes

My grandmother used to cook peppers stuffed with rice, topped with chopped tomatoes and basil or just a little bit of white bolognese sauce. My mom prepares them both in the palermitana way, stuffed with minced meat, and in the lighter version with traditional Sicilian flavours. So do I. I cook them almost always in the oven, and you can decide to stuff them without cutting or to cut them in a half (like a boat).

Have fun and remember that the stuffing kitchen has a very important tradition, to be rediscovered and supported in every historical moment.

Recycle, folks! Do you have any risotto, bread, cheese, boiled potatoes, meatballs, boiled sausage? Or do you only have eggs, herbs, breadcrumbs or the usual can of tuna? Well, even if they are not exactely like the original, pipi ammuttunati is the dish you were looking for.

And here’s a version made more special by the dried tomatoes made with our hands.

Ingredients (for 4 people)

  • 4 small yellow peppers (possibly with a square base so they can stand)
  • 6 slices of stale bread
  • 1 big white onion
  • 4 fillets of anchovies
  • 30 cherry tomatoes (datterini type)
  • 8 dry tomatoes
  • 1 table spoon of desalted capers
  • 200 g of chopped primo sale cheese
  • 100 g of grated grana padano
  • Mint
  • Evo oil (as needed)
  • Salt and pepper (as needed)

Procedure

Wash the peppers and cut the cap. Empty them removing filaments and seeds, sprinkle the inside with salt and leave them upside down.

Clean the mint and let it dry well. Wash the tomatoes, slice them and place them in a colander under salt, so that they lose the excess water. Let them rest half an hour, then transfer them into a bowl with a clove of garlic dressed and crushed.

Cut the dried tomato fillets into small pieces and chop the capers.

Cut the bread crust and cut it into squares. Chop the onion and fry it in a pan with the oil and the chopped anchovies. Then add a couple of tablespoons of water to deglassate. Stirr often to melt the anchovies, and as soon as the onion is wilted add the bread: it will absorb the liquid from the bottom and then toast, but gently so that you do not burn the onion. Let cool. Light the oven at 190° in static mode.

At this point create the filling mixture with your hands: in a bowl add the bread, the tomatoes again drained from their liquid and without the garlic, the dried tomatoes, the roughly chopped mint, primo sale cheese, grana cheese and ground pepper.  Season to taste with salt and add a little oil to bind better (maybe the dried tomatoes one if it is as tasty as ours).

Make sure that the filling is a well-compact dough. Fill the peppers and finish with a little oil.

Place them in an oiled baking dish, with their cups next to it. Let them cook covered with aluminum foil for 15 minutes. After that, uncover them and continue cooking for about 30 minutes.

Of course, you can choose to fry them.

Let time rest for 10 minutes and serve them with baked potatoes; we have flavored them with our herbs.

As an alternative, you can garnish them with mesclun salad enriched by the leftover bread. How can you enrich the salad with the bread? Chop the crust into breadcrumbs and toast them (muddica atturrata), to which you can add toasted almonds, also coarsely chopped. Add to your salad.

But, if you like a good dish of spaghetti seasoned as you like, this crumble will exalt your recipe.

N.B. remember that the peppers cooked in this way must not be peeled before cooking, but when they are served in the dishes. 

Buon appetito in the sign of ancient tradition and family warmth.

picture of the filling of peppers