Nestle enjoys Spanish-style tapas, appetizer-sized portions that allow her to reasonably savor a variety of flavors at a single meal. Piquillos are small, red, spicy-sweet roasted Spanish peppers; look for them in gourmet groceries, or order them online from La Tienda (www.tienda.com).
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup long-grain brown rice
1/8 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
10 piquillo peppers (about 1 [7.76-ounce] jar)
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded Manchego cheese
Flat-leaf parsley sprigs (optional)
How to Make It
Combine first 4 ingredients in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 40 minutes or until done. Stir in chopped parsley, black pepper, salt, and tomatoes. Cook 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 400°.
Spoon about 3 tablespoons rice mixture into each piquillo pepper. Place stuffed peppers in an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with Manchego cheese. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until peppers are thoroughly heated. Garnish with parsley sprigs, if desired.
I live in Spain, so the piquillo peppers and queso Manchego were easy to come by and quite cheap. :) I fixed the recipe as is, and everyone in the family went back for seconds--including my picky-eater I-don't-like-vegetables husband! Instead of a tapa, I fixed the stuffed peppers as a main dish and served it with garbanzo beans (flavored with bits of Spanish chorizo) and green beans (flavored with olive oil and garlic). The meal was a big hit! I would consider this a more difficult meal to prepare in the US, considering that the ingredients are not as easy to come by (and usually more expensive), but it's well worth the effort if you want Spanish flavor! Delicious!
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