In my garden the green peppers are going gangbusters. I’m still waiting for the yellow and red to finish ripening but, my goodness I have to start doing something with all the green peppers! I’m also kind of drowning in zucchini so I’m adding some to this recipe. Since I don’t like rice that’s incorporated into a dish (think chicken and rice casseroles) I decided to go Italian and use orzo instead of rice. Here’s my Italian Sausage & Orzo Stuffed Peppers!
Even if you’ve never bought orzo you’ve probably eaten it. It’s part of the vermicelli and orzo that makes up “Rice-a-Roni” which doesn’t actually have rice in it. Orzo is pasta. And what could go better with Italian Sausage than pasta? The dish also has a lot of vegetables added so you can sneak them in on your picky eaters.
To make my stuffed peppers first I preheated the oven to 400°F.
Next I cut the stems out of 4 green peppers then sliced them in half, lengthwise, and removed the core, seeds, and membranes.
Then I minced zucchini until I had about 1/4 cup. I also minced about 1/4 cup each of onion, mushrooms, and celery. I poured about a tablespoon of olive oil over the vegetables and stirred it to combine. I seasoned the vegetables with salt and pepper.
I nearly forgot to mince my mushrooms!
Next I removed the casing from some link Italian sausage. You can certainly buy the sausage without casing but I used what I had on hand. There’s a simple was to remove the casings from any kind of sausage. Just cut about 3/4 of the way through the sausage then flip the cut end down. Find the end of the casing and gently lift and pull it back from one end of the sausage to the other. No wasted sausage and it’s as easy as can be!
I browned the sausage with a tablespoon of olive oil then added it to my vegetable mixture.
Next I cooked the orzo using chicken broth instead of water. I didn’t want the orzo cooked completely so I only left it in the boiling chicken broth for about 4 minutes. I drained the orzo into a sieve, reserving the broth and added the orzo to the meat and vegetable mixture.
After the meat, orzo, and vegetables were mixed well I added a cup of tomato sauce (I always add a tiny bit of sugar to my tomato sauce to cut the acidity). I stirred the mixture to make sure the sauce was well combined with the other ingredients.
The reserved chicken broth was poured into a casserole dish just to cover the bottom. I then stuffed the meat and vegetable mixture into the peppers and placed them in the casserole dish.
I covered the dish with foil and baked the peppers for about 35 minutes. Then I uncovered the dish, spooned a little more tomato sauce on top of each pepper and piled some mozzarella on each. The dish was returned to the oven to let the cheese melt and become golden brown.
Italian Sausage & Orzo Stuffed Peppers
- 1/4 cup zucchini, minced
- 1/4 cup onion, minced
- 1/4 cup celery, minced
- 1/4 cup mushrooms, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lb. Italian sausage (sweet or hot)
- 2 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella, divided
- 1/2 lb. Italian sausage, casing removed
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup orzo
- 4 bell peppers (green, red or yellow or a combination)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Combine the zucchini, celery, onion, and mushrooms in a large bowl.
- Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil over vegetables and stir to combine.
- Season the mixture with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Mix in 1/2 cup of the mozzarella.
- Brown Italian sausage until no longer pink
- Pout chicken broth into large saucepan and bring to a boil
- Add the orzo and cook for 4 minutes (to partially cook it)
- Pour chicken broth through a sieve and reserve it
- Add the drained orzo to the vegetable mixture and stir to combine
- Add the browned sausage to the vegetable mixture and stir to combine.
- Pour 1 cup of tomato sauce over the meat mixture and stir well to combine
- Pour enough of the reserved chicken broth to cover the bottom of a casserole dish
- Place the peppers into the dish and fill with the tomato sausage mixture
- Cover with foil and bake for 35 – 40 minutes (until peppers are very tender)
- Remove the foil and spread a little more tomato sauce over each pepper then sprinkle the peppers with the remaining cheese and continue baking until the cheese is melted and golden (about 10 – 15 minutes)
Since this meal is so chock full of vegetables there’s really no need for anything other than some crusty bread to go with it!