Mozzarella-Stuffed Peppers

Long, skinny sweet peppers are generally called Italian frying peppers, though I have also seen them sold as Cubanelle and banana peppers. Usually they are pale green in color, but in the summer I can often find locally grown red ones.

For additional flavor, add a little chopped prosciutto or pancetta to the stuffing.

Serve these with a salad for a meal or as a side dish with barbecued pork or chicken.

Serves 6

6 large red or green Italian frying peppers (see headnote)

1 cup plain dry bread crumbs

1 garlic clove, grated (on a Microplane) or minced

½ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or ½ teaspoon dried

Salt and freshly ground pepper

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 ounces mozzarella, chopped

1 (28-ounce) can Italian crushed tomatoes

Method

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Oil a 13-×-9-×-2-inch baking dish.

Cut the tops off the peppers and scoop out the seeds.

In a small bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, garlic, grated cheese, herbs, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in ¼ cup of the olive oil until the crumbs are moistened. Stir in the mozzarella.

Spoon the stuffing into the peppers, tapping them to distribute the filling throughout. Arrange the peppers in the baking dish.

Stir together the crushed tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste. Pour the tomatoes over the peppers. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the peppers are tender and lightly browned. Serve warm.