When you’re craving the classic combination of dreamy spinach & ricotta stuffed pasta but can’t have flour pasta, charred sweet bell pepper halves are a delicious and naturally gluten free alternative.
A quick few minutes on the grill or gas flame is all the pepper halves need – you don’t want to overcook them as they will collapse during the final cooking in the oven, causing the yummy filling to make a molten lava-like escape!
Reminiscent of quiche and very soufflé like in texture, the filling will rise during cooking so take care to not overstuff them.
This filling makes a nice change from using ground meat or sausage, as well as making this a more than acceptable dish for any vegetarians at your table. Serve for lunch or dinner, or wow some weekend brunch guests by making them!
A sprinkling of fresh chives adds pops of colour and freshness!
- 2 red bell peppers
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup approx, frozen spinach, thawed (drain liquid if more than a couple of teaspoons) or substitute fresh spinach, sautéed, drained & chopped
- Few gratings of freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- 1 TBSP chopped fresh chives
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup approx. tomato passata, thinned with 1/4 cup water and seasoned with salt & pepper
- Heat oven to 400°and lightly oil a baking pan that’s just large enough to hold the peppers.
- Cut the red bell peppers in half horizontally through the stems, leaving a handle which will help keep the peppers from crumbling. Give them a partial char over a gas flame or bbq, letting some black appear, but don’t let them get too soft. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, sauté garlic in oil for 1 minute, add spinach, nutmeg, a pinch of salt & pepper, and heat through 2 - 3 minutes, cooking off any liquid that has accumulated. Remove to cutting board, chop through a few times so no large or stringy pieces remain, and place in medium sized bowl.
- Add passata & water mixture to your prepared baking pan.
- To bowl with spinach, add ricotta, egg, chives, salt & pepper, and mix thoroughly to combine. With a large spoon, carefully fill the charred pepper halves leaving at least 1/4 inch at the top, and add to the baking pan. Place in 400° oven and bake approx 35 - 40 minutes, until filling is set and golden on top. If pan gets dry during baking, add more passata & water as needed.
- *Using the frozen spinach, especially when you get it in 'pucks' is a real timesaver in the kitchen!