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Vegan Italiano by Donna Klein
This is a terrific dinner party dish, as the assembled stuffed peppers can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator overnight before baking. The use of arborio rice ensures that the grains will not harden in the refrigerator like regular long-grain white rice tends to do.
Makes 4 Servings
• 2½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 medium onion (about 6 ounces), finely chopped
• 3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
• 1½ pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
• 1/4 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• 1 cup arborio rice, slightly undercooked according to package directions
• 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
• 1/4 cup chopped pitted black kalamata olives
• 4 large red or green bell peppers (8 to 10 ounces each)
• 2 cups favorite pasta sauce, or All-Purpose Tomato Sauce (optional), heated
Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C).
In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened but not browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, broth, salt, and pepper; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer briskly, stirring frequently to prevent scorching, until the mixture has thickened and most of the liquids have evaporated, 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove the skillet from the heat and add the rice, basil, and olives, stirring well to thoroughly combine. Season with additional salt and pepper as necessary. Set aside.
Cut a lid off the stem end of each pepper and reserve. Remove the seeds and white membranes from each pepper shell. Brush the outsides of the lids and shells with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil. Stuff each pepper shell lightly (do not pack) with equal amounts of the rice mixture and top with the corresponding lid (lids will not close).
Place the stuffed peppers upright in a baking dish just large enough to accommodate their size. Add enough water to the dish to measure 1/2 inch. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until the peppers are tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Remove the foil and bake 5 minutes, or until the lids just begin to blister.
Serve at once, accompanied by the heated pasta sauce (if using).
NUTRITION PER SERVING
Calories 360; Protein 8g; Total Fat 11 g; Sat. Fat 1 g; Cholesterol 0mg; Carbohydrate 61 g; Dietary Fiber 6g; Sodium 147mg
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