Stuffed Mini Peppers

makes 32 mini servings

Variations:  I like to also stuff these little peppers sometimes with a mixture of sharp cheddar cheese and pepper jack cheese.  You can also add little bacon bits.  The possibilities are endless.  I also like to put these on the grill. 

Ingredients:

16 mini sweet peppers
¾ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided (I also like to use Montreal Steak Seasoning instead of pepper. It's my favorite seasoning)
¾ teaspoon sea salt, divided
¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped finely
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped finely
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
⅛ teaspoons (scant) cayenne pepper
1 lemon, zested
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions:

Line a large rimmed baking pan with heavy duty foil.  Spray lightly with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut the peppers in half so they will lay flat.  Look at the pepper and you will see how to slice it so there are two flatter halves rather than two halves that are curved.  Most of the peppers are not perfectly round, so they will have a flatter side.  Lay the peppers on the sheet, cut side up.  Season the insides of the peppers with ¼ teaspoon of the sea salt and ½ teaspoon of the pepper.

Mix the breadcrumbs, cheese, herbs, onion and garlic powders, cayenne pepper and the remainder of the salt and pepper and the lemon zest together in a bowl.  Toss thoroughly.  Fill the peppers with a little of this mixture and then drizzle the olive oil over the peppers.  (If you are making these ahead of time, just cover with some plastic wrap and put them in the fridge until you're ready to cook them.)

Roast for 15 - 20 minutes, until the peppers are soft and the breadcrumb mixture is turning slightly golden.

The Italian Dish
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