Tomato, cheese and herbs give Italian food the classic flavour and wonderful aroma which is so enticing and additive. The cuisine has become world famous which is evident by the "Dominoes" and "Pizza Hut" that has opened up its doors in every city in most countries.
More than the pizzas or the pastas that are served, I love the appetisers that are on the menu. My favourite is the "Stuffed Romano Peppers". It is stuffed with rice which is cooked with herbs and topped with lots of mozzarella cheese.
I liked the idea but instead of rice substituted a very simple filling. Can you believe that this can be made in just 15 minutes, that is if you have all the ingredients ready at hand. The filling can be modified to individual tastes and preferences.
This dish works as an excellent crowd pleaser as the preparation can be done 5-6 hours in advance. You can keep half the number of peppers as vegetarian and half as non-vegetarian.
Traditionally served as an appetiser but can be converted into main course by adding a salad and a soup on the side.
Preparation time: 5-6 minutes.
Cooking time: 10 minutes.
For the recipe:
Red romano peppers: 2.
Home made tomato sauce: 6 - 7 tbsp.
Raw prawns [peeled and deveined]: 15-16.
Yellow bell pepper: 1/2.
Cheddar cheese: as required.
Fresh thyme :1 tbsp
Fresh basil leaves: a handful.
Salt and paprika: as required.
For "Spicy Italian Tomato Sauce" go here
1.Preheat the oven to Gas mark 4/ 180 degrees C. Grate the cheese and keep aside.
2.Wash the romano peppers and cut in half. Light the stove burner and set the flame in medium.
3.Roast the peppers in this flame for a couple of minutes on both sides. The peppers should be softened and should start to become dark on the edges.
4.Remove from flame and cool.
5.Mix the prawns, tomato sauce, chopped bell pepper, thyme leaves and half of the basil leaves. Check for salt and seasoning and add salt and paprika as required.
6.Place the peppers on a baking tray lined with foil with the inner side facing upwards.
7.Fill the peppers with the prepared sauce and top with cheese.
8.Place the tray in the oven and cook for 8-10 mins or until the cheese has melted and bubbling.
Garnish with more fresh basil and thyme leaves and serve warm.
Note: I have given the number of prawns as I kept 4 prawns per half of the pepper. You can use store brought tomato sauce but I would suggest home made one as it can be tuned to your tastes.
Do not blacken the skin of the peppers which will give a very strong unpleasant flavour to the dish. You can skip the prawns and add cooked shredded chicken, chopped olives, bell peppers, cooked couscous/ brown rice/soya mince etc....
The choice is endless and the flavour can be changed with the herb that is added. Experiment around with different herbs- mint, coriander, rosemary, dill, chives with a teaspoon of shredded ginger.
Sending this to "Dish it Out - Cheese and Tomato",originally by Vardhini , guest hosted by Anamika and 100 Day Global Food Festival by Kalyani.
Scribbled by Reva