recipe || stuffed baby peppers

My lovely Liz friend made these stuffed baby peppers for us when we were in Rosemary Beach, Florida last fall. The peppers themselves are delicious, hence my sharing the recipe here, but coupled with the memories that instantly flood back when I partake of them they are even better. I treasure how smells, tastes, sights, and sounds are so tied to memories. What a gift our senses are! How a little thing like a stuffed baby pepper reminds me of one of my most cherished vacation times, and I am transported back to the feel of salt air on my face, beachy wind-blown hair, french doors opened on the balcony of the condo, the stunning FL sunset, and time spent with my favorite people. I love that.

Enjoy the recipe, lovelies! 

Stuffed Baby Peppers

vegetable oil cooking spray

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, chopped into 1/4 -inch pieces

1/2 medium onion, finely chopped

3/4 cup ricotta cheese

1/3 cup grated Parmesan

1/2 cup frozen petite peas, thawed*

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

24 (2 to 3-inch long) sweet baby peppers

Directions

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with vegetable oil cooking spray and set aside.

In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring frequently, until brown and crispy, about 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta and drain on paper towels. Add the onion to the pan and cook until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine the onion, pancetta, cheeses, and peas. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. 

Using a paring knife, cut 1/2-inch from the stem-end of the peppers. Remove the seeds and veins. Using a small dessert spoon, fill each pepper with the ricotta mixture. Place the filled peppers on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 to 18 minutes until the peppers begin to soften. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes. 

Arrange the peppers on a platter and serve. 

*I have yet to make the recipe with the peas. I always, always forget about them, but we always, always still love the peppers! ;)

Recipe Courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis & Food Network