Pugliese Recipe: Stuffed Peppers with Balsamic Pork

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This recipe has been gently offered by Gabriella, owner of La Scarpetta blog and a half Italian Pugliese, who is really fond of Italian cooking.
“I spent many summers of my childhood in Italy, where we used to stay with my Nonna in her apartment in central Bari, and my aunties in various locations around Puglia. I really owe all I know about Italian cooking the amazing Italian women I have in my life, including my mother, my aunties and my late Nonna.”

Puglian cuisine, and southern Italian food in general, is one of the healthiest cuisines in the world. So if you think Italian food is all pizza and ice cream, you can think again. Food is more than just nutrition, it is the transmission of love and nurture, passed through generations, so I thought it was about time that I paid homage to my ancestral land and posted this traditional Pugliese classic.
This same recipe can be done with aubergines and courgettes too. I have added the pork as a source of protein, but you could serve the peppers on their own for a delicious vegetarian starter, or alongside any other meat or fish of your choice.

Preparation:
  • Set your oven to 200C (400F, Gas 6). Get your bread and place in a bowl. Moisten with a good splash of cold water, and leave to soak. This will add a soft texture and bulk out your mozzarella stuffing.
  • Chop the parsley, garlic and grate the Parmesan. Add to a medium sized bowl, along with the egg and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Squeeze the excess water out of the bread, and place into the bowl with the other ingredients.
  • Chop the mozzarella and add to the mixture.
  • You can now begin to prepare the peppers. I have used one red and one yellow, as I don’t particularly like green peppers, but feel free to use whichever you like. Cut them down the middle and remove the ribs and seeds.
  • Fill with the stuffing, you can be quite generous. Then, prepare a roasting dish by pouring in about 5tbsp of olive oil, one roughly chopped garlic clove, some salt and pepper, and a few chopped cherry tomatoes. Place the stuffed peppers on top.
  • Once the peppers are in the dish, chop a few capers and halve about 5 cherry tomatoes. Distribute these evenly onto the peppers and cover with olive oil, and grating of Parmesan. You will also need to put a small glass of water in the dish to cook the peppers. You can then place in the oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until the peppers are soft underneath and golden on the top.
  • Now the peppers are in the oven, you can begin on the pork. I have used pork loin steaks. Remove the fat from the sides, and dust with a little plain flour, salt and pepper on each side. The flour will make the outside of the pork form a lovely crust, and thicken the balsamic vinegar, which will be added at the end of cooking.
  • Put about 3 tbsp of olive oil into a large frying pan, and when hot, place the pork in the pan. Fry for about 4 minutes on each side.
  • Once the pork is cooked and golden on both sides, pour in a good amount of balsamic vinegar, about 5 tbsp per person. Leave to reduce for a minute or so.
  • By the time you have prepared and cooked the pork, your peppers should be nearly cooked. If they aren’t, set the pork to the side and quickly reheat before serving.
  • On a plate, place some salad leaves in the center, I have used lollo rosso and verdina leaves.
  • Place half a pepper on top, one piece of pork, and drizzle over the oil from the peppers, and the reduced balsamic vinegar. Serve.

peperoni_ripieni_beautifulpuglia
peperoni_ripieni_beautifulpuglia
peperoni_ripieni_beautifulpuglia
peperoni_ripieni_beautifulpuglia
peperoni_ripieni_beautifulpuglia
peperoni_ripieni_beautifulpuglia

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