Roasted and Stuffed Peppers (Peperoni Arrotolati)
- SERVINGS: 4- 8
When Stefano Tagliente, the executive chef at the wonderful Il Melograno hotel in Monopoli, made these for author Nancy Harmon Jenkins, he laid each piece of roasted pepper on a small sheet of plastic wrap, spread the bread crumb mixture on the pepper and then used the plastic wrap to roll it up into a firm, tight package, twisting the ends to secure them. He steamed the packages briefly, then unwrapped the rolled stuffed peppers and finished cooking them on a baking sheet in the oven. His method makes a neater presentation and avoids the use of toothpicks.
- 1 1/2 tablespoons golden raisins
- 4 large red or yellow bell peppers
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped capers
- 1 1/2 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted
- 2 rinsed and boned salted anchovies or 4 small oil-packed anchovy fillets, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup dry bread crumbs
- 1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil plus more for brushing
- Soak the raisins in a small bowl of hot water until softened, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, roast the peppers directly over a gas flame or under a broiler, turning frequently, until the skins are charred all over and the peppers just begin to collapse. Transfer them to a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and let steam for 20 minutes. Peel, core and seed the peppers. Cut them lengthwise into quarters, removing any membranes as you go.
- Preheat the oven to 425°. In a small bowl, combine the capers, pine nuts, anchovies, bread crumbs, parsley and drained raisins. Season with salt and black pepper and add the olive oil to make a thick paste.
- Lightly brush a baking sheet with olive oil. On a large work surface, lay out all the pepper pieces, skinned sides down; place a heaping teaspoon of the stuffing at the widest end of each piece. Beginning at that end, firmly roll up the peppers and secure with toothpicks.
- Bake the stuffed peppers for about 15 minutes, or until they are warmed through and the tops are lightly browned. Serve immediately or at room temperature.