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Italian Stuffed Peppers With Potatoes, What-What? Restaurant Recipe Attempt

After moving to Alabama, a friend recommended an Italian Restaurant about an hour from my home.  That’s a little bit of a hoof but for a good Italian restaurant, the time was worth it.  Plus, I had the airport runs in nearby Birmingham.

Anyway, I really loved the food.  Sadly, the family lost their patriarch Joe Bertolone and the restaurant was sold.

Fast forward a few years and Joe’s daughter Sonia opened with a non-compete clause in the small town of Clanton Alabama.  With Mama at her side, they make fantastic dishes.   I have written about their journey and food here. Bertolone’s Italian Restaurant Clanton, Alabama Where You Can “Taste The Love.”

Mama Bertolone makes these stuffed peppers that I am head over heels in love with.  This “Tasty Tuesday” follow me, or not, on my attempt to figure out the recipe for stuffed peppers.

Don’t get me wrong, I tried to get the recipe from the Italian Mama.   So that went well…not.

If any of my readers have ever made anything similar.  Give me a word. Did I succeed? Yes-ish    MEGagrade C+ Read MEGatips for my bad (s).

Since  I did not get the recipe from Mama,  I attempted some research.  Usually, it is easy I live in a time of Google.  This time, not so much.  But, I was able to find a description of the dish from one of their former restaurants.

Described as Mama’s Two of Mamma’s succulent fresh bell peppers filled with rice, potatoes, chicken, Italian sausage, garlic and Parmigiano cheese. Baked and topped with our house made Pomodoro sauce.

Meg’s Stuffed Italian Peppers with Potatoes and Pomodoro Sauce.

Bertolonespeppering

Ingredients for Meg’s Italian Stuffed Peppers

 

Serves 4

 

Pomodoro Sauce (Easy)

Ingredients

  • 1 28-ounce can Marzano Tomatoes
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • a pinch of sugar.  I use less than a teaspoon.
  • A Pinch of Kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp of  Paste (I always have a squeeze tube of the paste, it lasts forever.)
 Pomodoro Sauce Directions.
  1. Using a food processor or a blender, pulse the tomatoes with juices in a blender to form a coarse purée.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Add chopped garlic and cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. *Do not overcook.
  4. Add tomato paste and sugar. Season with salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer gently until sauce is slightly thickened about 10-15 minutes.

    *Sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead of use.  Just cover and store in refrigerator or freeze for up to 3 months.

    Stuffed Pepper Ingredients

    • 4 Green Peppers  (Three pictured in the photo.)
    • Two Potatoes
    • 1/2 pound of Italian Sausage  *Do not use spicy sausage as pictured above. See MEGatips below.
    • 1/2 pound of ground Chicken Sausage.  I used plain ground chicken.
    • one small onion
    • 1 Cup Cooked White Rice *Note, I used Minute Rice and next time, I will use Basmati in the future.
    • 1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
    • 4 garlic cloves split into two and two.
    • Parmigiano cheese-shredded or Parmigian-Reggiano shredded.

Directions for Green Peppers and Potatoes 

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F
  2. Have the cooked rice prepared and set aside.
  3. Wash green peppers, cut out the stem and remove seeds,  I scrape the peppers clean of white membrane.  I like to take some of the leftover green pepper from the stem area and dice into small pieces to use in my mixture.   See #2 in stuffing directions below.  MEGatip-I am no Marth Stewart but a grapefruit knife works perfectly for this task.

    pepperinside

    Preparing the peppers with my grapefruit knife.

  4. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and parboil the peppers for 4 minutes exactly.  They will split if you cook them more than 5 minutes. Remove very carefully so that the peppers do not split. Drain and set aside.  *MEGatip, I use a slotted spoon to remove the peppers.  As a side bonus, the water is ready for boiling the potatoes in the same pot with less cleanup!  **I know parboiling may be controversial.  Many of you do not parboil peppers-This is Meg’s way. *Alternately, you can soften the peppers in a microwave. pepperboil
  5. Clean and peel potatoes.  Cube them into dice-sized chunks.
  6. Bring about 2 inches of water to a boil or use my method as above, and cook for 12 minutes or until soft. Drain and set aside.

    potatoboil

    Potatoes cooked until softened

Directions for Stuffing:

  1. Brown the Italian sausage, chicken, onion, the leftover green pepper diced into small pieces,  and cook just until onion is translucent.
  2. Add the garlic and cook for a few more minutes.
  3. Add 1 TBSP of Italian Seasoning.  You may use your own version.
  4. Add 1/2 cup of the Pomodoro Sauce and stir. (I am betting by the description of Mama’s peppers that she does not do this, but I do.)
  5. Combine the rice and potatoes with the meat and sauce mixture. Fold carefully as not to break the potatoes.  *Note, If you use Minute Rice, there is no need to pre-cook the rice.
  6. Add Stuffing into the pepper cavities. *To note, you will have leftover stuffing.  I love the extra for those who *think* that they don’t like green peppers.  Green peppers taste completely different when cooked in this recipe. Since I was again cooking for one, there was leftover stuffing.
    italianbefore

    Bertolone’s Italian Pepper the Meg Way before cooking.

  7. Put the peppers into a square 2-quart sized pan that is sprayed with cooking spray.  Since it has tall sides,  I use my old Corelle ware for this dish.
  8. Add extra stuffing around the sides of the peppers or you may cook the mixture separately if desired.
  9. Pour 3/4 to 1 Cup of the Pomodoro sauce over the top
  10. Bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes.
  11. Remove from oven and top with Parmigiano cheese and cook until cheese melts about 5 minutes.
  12. Serve with a slice of your favorite Italian bread and a salad.
Bertelones Italian Pepper the Meg way

Bertelones Italian Pepper the Meg way

 

MEGatips:

  1. Unless you are in a hurry, do not need to use Minute Rice.  Hopefully, I will have someone to eat this dish with me in the future.  I will try Basmati Rice. Brown rice may also be used.
  2. I inadvertently bought spicy sausage and it overpowered the recipe. Instead, use a sweet Italian Sausage. This was my largest error.
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