- 4 large bell peppers (any color)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus more for drizzling
- 6 plum tomatoes or small vine-ripened tomatoes
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 fresh red chili pepper
- 1 red onion or mild yellow onion
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup orzo
- 1 cup long grain white rice
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 20-24 small meatballs, coarsely crumbled
- 1 1/2-2 cups shaved or grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, divided
Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.
Halve the bell peppers lengthwise and remove the seeds. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with EVOO. Place the peppers cut-side down in a large casserole dish. Cut an X in the hull of each pepper and roast for 20 minutes. Let cool slightly.
Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, grate the tomatoes on the large holes of a box grater, discarding the skins. (You should have about 2 cups.) Grate the garlic, chili pepper and onion into the bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add a drizzle of EVOO and the thyme.
Heat the butter and 1 tablespoon EVOO in a medium size saucepan over medium heat. Add the orzo and toast until golden and fragrant. Add half the tomato sauce and the rice and stir for 1-2 minutes. Add the stock and bring to boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until the rice is tender, 17-18 minutes.
Combine the rice mixture, meatballs and 3/4 cup of the Parmigiano Reggiano. Spoon the filling into the peppers and top with the remaining tomato sauce, the remaining cheese and a drizzle of EVOO. Bake until heated through and the tops are browned, about 45 minutes.
Cook's Note: The stuffed peppers can be covered and refrigerated for a make-ahead meal. Bring to room temperature before baking.