STUFFED PEPPERS SINATRA & CHIANTI

Stuffed Peppers alla Lucia

As I walked out of my apartment in Greenwich Village, something hit me. It was an unmistakeable smell … A smell and aromas that instantly brought me back to my youth and my mother cooking the dish. Yes I know that smell quite well and can easily identify. The smell? Why Stuffed Peppers of course! As the peppers roast, stuffed most likely with ground beed mixed with rice (to strecth-out the beef), garlic and grated Parmiggiano Reggiano with tomato sauce. Yes the smell is quite wonderful and when I remember as my mother cooked the dish often. Stuffed Peppers along with; Meatballs, Stuffed Artichokes, Meatlaof, Eggplant, Braciole, and Stuffed Shells were one of the main-stays of my mothers Italian roots repetoire. A dish I always loved, but releived as I walked out my door the other day, a dish, just like Stuffed Shells and Chicken Cacctiatore that are hardly ever eat these days. I pondered why, and decided there was no good reason and I have to remedy this little delema, and soon.
I haven’t had the dish in quite some time,  and decided I must have it soon. I went to the supermarket and got all the ingredients,; the Green Bell Peppers, ground beef, a can of San Marzano Tomatoes, and rice. I bought the Grated Parmiggiano at Raffetto’s around the block and I was all set to go.
First things first, so I put the rice on to cook.  I got a little tomato sauce going with garlic, olive oil, Pepperoncino, and the San Marzano’s,   I chopped the Italian Parsely, onions, and Garlic for the stuffing, and got things ready.
  I got 6 peppers that I would cut the tops off, then pull out the core inside. 
So the rice had finished cooking and cooled down, and it was time to put in a mixing bowl with the ground beef, garlic, chopped onions, grated cheese, and parsley. Season with salt and Black Pepper, throw in one egg and mix with my hands till everything was well mixed, just they mommy did. The stuffing was ready to stuff into the peppers. Fill all the peppers with the beef mixture, top them with their tops, pot some tomato sauce in the casserole dish, place the peppers in there, and throw them in the oven. In a little more than an hour they’d be done.
I pot on some Sinatra and Louie Prima, cracked open a “Nice Bottle of Chianti,” as Anthony Hopkins would say, and waited for the Peppers to cook. 
Now I was making my own again, and I’m sure some of the neighbors were jealous as I was the other day, smelling those tasty Stuffed Peppers one of my neighbors was making, but none would I have. Not that day anyway, but now, and time for others to be wanting and not me. I’m sorry I can’t feed everyone. Now anyone who knows me, knows that I love to cook and feed others. My friends, family, whoever, and this often do, of which many will attest to.
Well noone is coming today. I’m gonna eat a couple of these suckers today, and the rest I’ll leave in the frig and have 3 or 4 more meals of these babies during the week, Stuffed Peppers, Chianti, and Sinatra, “yes life is good at times,” times like these ….



Daniel Bellino-Zwicke


LUCIA’S STUFFED PEPPERS
in
Daniel Bellino’s
SUNDAY SAUCE

When Italian-AMericans Cook


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