Spicy Pesto Cheese Stuffed Roasted Red Peppers
When you’re craving Italian, but want to keep things healthy, delicious, and summery too!
- 3-4 red bell peppers
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound ground spicy Italian chicken sausage
- 1 zucchini or yellow summer squash, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- red pepper flakes
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 1½ cups whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1 cup shredded fontina cheese
- ¾ cup basil pesto
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella or provolone cheese
- ½ cup pepperoni slices (optional)
- fresh basil, for serving
- Place the peppers over an open flame on a gas burner and lightly char, turning 2-3 times for 3-4 minutes. Don't blacken them, just a light char. Alternately, you can place the peppers under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, watch closely.
- Put the peppers in a bowl and cover with a plate. Let steam 10 minutes, then slice the peppers in half and discard the seeds.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the chicken sausage and zucchini, cook until the meat is browned, about 5 to 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add the oregano, thyme, 1½ cups tomato sauce, red pepper flakes, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly.
- In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, fontina, and pesto. Preheat the oven to 425° F.
- Spoon the remaining tomato sauce into the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Arrange the peppers in the baking dish and stuff with the meat sauce, then add a dollop of pesto ricotta. Add the mozzarella and pepperoni (if using).
- Bake 15-20 minutes or until the cheese has melted and is lightly browned on top. Serve with pesto, basil, and thyme. Enjoy!
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