NANA’S STUFFED BELL PEPPERS WITH BEEF, CHEESE AND RICE (for four)
4 medium red, yellow, orange or green bell peppers (about 6 ounces each), ½ inch trimmed off tops, cores and seeds discarded
½ cup long grain white basmati rice
1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine (about 1 cup)
12 ounces ground beef, preferably ground chuck
3 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
one 14-1/2 ounce can diced plum tomatoes, drained, ¼ cup juice reserved
5 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (1-1/4 cups)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
ground black pepper
¼ cup ketchup
- Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon salt and bell peppers. Cook until peppers are just beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove peppers from pot, drain off excess water and place peppers cut sides down on paper towels to drain. Return water to a boil, add rice and boil until tender, about 13 minutes. Drain rice and transfer it to a large bowl. Set aside.
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350*.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add ground beef and cook, breaking beef into small pieces with spoon, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer mixture to bowl with rice. Stir in tomatoes, 1 cup cheese, parsley and salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir together ketchup and reserved tomato juice in a small bowl.
- Place peppers cut sides up in a 9 inch square baking dish. Using a soup spoon, divide filling evenly among peppers. Spoon 2 tablespoons ketchup mixture over each filled pepper and sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon of the remaining cheese. Bake until cheese and filling is heated through, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve immediately.