Monday, June 24, 2013

Stuffed Red Peppers with Basil Sauce

Photo by Katie Guymon

For whatever reason--maybe it's because this dish requires slightly more work--I feel like stuffed peppers are kind of impressive. Maybe that's just me. But, if I went to a dinner party, and someone served these alongside salmon, or say, roasted shrimp cocktail, I'd give my compliments to the chef.

And that basil sauce? I would drink it like a milkshake, if it were socially acceptable. Drizzle it over the peppers or over your aforementioned salmon. You can't go wrong.

Stuffed Red Peppers [adapted from Giada DeLaurentis]

For the Peppers:
-1 box of couscous (you can use plain, or something slightly flavored like roasted garlic and olive oil)
-1 cup of canned garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
-1/4 cup of dried cranberries
-1 packed cup of chopped baby spinach leaves
-1/2 cup (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
-1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
-kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
-4 medium red bell peppers
-hot water, as needed

For the Sauce:
-1 packed cup of fresh basil leaves
-1/2 cup of Greek yogurt
-3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
-1 tablespoon of water
-1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
-2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice
-1/4 teaspoon of sugar
-1/4 teaspoon of salt, plus extra, as needed
-1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, plus extra, as needed

1. Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. To make the filling, cook the couscous according to package instructions. Once finished cooking, put the couscous in a large bowl and add the beans, cranberries, spinach, feta, and 1/4 cup of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir until all of the ingredients are combined. 

3. Slice the tops off the peppers and remove all the ribs and seeds. If necessary, cut a very thin slice from the base to help the peppers stand up. Stuff the peppers with the filling and drizzle the tops with olive oil. 
4. Put the peppers in an 8 by 8-inch square baking dish. Fill the baking dish with 3/4-inch hot water and bake until the filling is golden and the peppers are cooked through, about 55 to 60 minutes. Note: if the filling begins to brown too quickly, cover the pan with foil.

5. To make the sauce, combine the basil, Greek yogurt, olive oil, water, garlic, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and pepper in a blender. Blend until smooth. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste.

6. Remove the peppers from the oven and arrange on serving plates. Spoon the sauce around the peppers and serve.

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