A variety of vegetables makes for a pretty presentation, but this can be made with all bell peppers or squash. If you use only bell peppers, which have no interior flesh, add equal amounts of additional breadcrumbs and tomatoes until you get enough filling. Using soft breadcrumbs adds to the melt-in-your-mouth texture of the tender vegetables. Because they are covered while baking, the vegetables keep moisture in, resulting in tender and delicate flesh.
1 large red bell pepper, halved lengthwise
2 large yellow squash, halved lengthwise (about 1 pound)
1 large zucchini, halved lengthwise (about 1/2 pound)
3 ounces Italian bread
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups chopped peeled plum tomato
1/2 cup (2 ounces) finely shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 375°.
Discard seeds and membranes from bell pepper. Carefully scoop out squash and zucchini pulp, leaving shells intact. Finely chop pulp; set aside. Place bell pepper halves, squash shells, and zucchini shells, cut sides up, in a 13 x 9-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Coat shells with cooking spray.
Place bread in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until crumbs measure 1 1/2 cups. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chopped pulp and garlic; cook 4 minutes or until moisture evaporates, stirring frequently. Add tomato; cook 2 minutes or until tomato begins to soften, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in the breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup cheese, parsley, black pepper, and salt. Divide mixture evenly among prepared bell pepper halves, squash shells, and zucchini shells; sprinkle evenly with 1/4 cup cheese. Cover pan with foil, and bake at 375° for 40 minutes or until shells are tender.
Remove foil; broil 4 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned.
Also made this with red bell peppers only. Used wheat bread (all I had) and increased that by @1.5 ozs and another half cup of tomato. It was beautiful, easy and delicious. I did sprinkle a little bit extra salt on top after cooking(prolly too much bread) and had enough stuffing to cook a ramikin full with the pepper halves. I think it would taste gtreat with s pinch of italian seasoning mixed into the stuffing too.
Have been making these for a few years now and they're great paired with simple grilled steak, chicken, shrimp or fish. I only stuff bell peppers, but I do stuff them using squash and zucchini. And the breadcrumb/cheese mixture really does make these melt in your mouth. They'd be good for entertaining too!
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