"I may never use ground meat in my peppers again," said Fran Parisi, Grace Parisi's mother, when she tried this super-flavorful sausage-stuffed version. Another revelation: Smaller Italian frying peppers are much easier to brown in a skillet than the typical green bell peppers, and they also cook faster.
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- 1 bag baby spinach
- 2 slices of white sandwich bread, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
- 1 pound sweet or hot Italian sausage, casings removed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 small or 4 large Italian frying peppers, halved lengthwise and cored, stems left intact
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup canned tomato sauce
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- In a very large skillet, cook the spinach over high heat just until wilted, about 1 minute. Drain and press out all of the water. Coarsely chop the spinach. Rinse out and dry the pan.
- In a large bowl, knead the chopped bread with the milk, egg and cheese to form a paste. Knead in the pine nuts, onion, sausage and spinach and season lightly with salt and pepper. Using lightly moistened hands, divide the mixture among the pepper halves and lightly pack it in.
- In the skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the stuffed peppers, filling side down, and cook over high heat until well-browned, about 4 minutes. Turn the peppers and cook until the skins are browned and blistered, about 4 minutes longer. Add the tomato sauce and chicken broth, cover and simmer until the sausage filling is cooked through and the peppers are tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to plates and serve right away.
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