Rice Stuffed BellaFina Peppers
BellaFina™ peppers may be used to create a wide variety of recipes, from appetizers to main dishes. BellaFina™ peppers are often used in salads, vegetables trays with or without dip, cooked in stews and sauces and stuffed with meat, cheese and grains.
For the Shells:
2 lbs assorted sweet mini bell peppers (red, yellow, and orange)
For the Filling:
2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped (2 cups)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 tablespoon red pepper paste
1 cup medium grain rice plus 1/4 cup medium grain rice, well rinsed and drained (such as Calrose)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon finely crushed dried mint
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups water
extra olive oil, to drizzle on cooked peppers
grape tomatoes (optional topping for pepper tops)
First, prepare the filling. Put the onion in a medium frying pan, and without adding the oil, “sweat” it over medium heat, stirring often, just until slightly softened. Add the oil and when it is heated up, add the tomato paste and pepper paste. Stir to mix. Toss in the rice and sugar, and cook over low heat, stirring frequently to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan, for 10-15 minutes. To check for doneness of the filling – take a bite on a rice grain: if it is soft on the outside and only slightly grainy inside, the filling is ready. Take care not to overcook. The rice will cook further inside the peppers. Remove the filling from the heat. Add the mint. Season with salt. Stir to mix and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, wash the peppers and pat dry. Cut a circle around the pepper stalk, leaving the circle attached. It will serve as a lid later. With your fingers, push the core of the peppers to the sides (because their core is tiny and the seeds are minimal, there is no need to remove them). Rub the inside of the shells with some salt.
Fill the peppers with the rice filling half full (do not overfill – the rice will expand while cooking). Put the pepper “lids” on. If you like, you could place a small grape tomato under each lid. Arrange the peppers in a saute pan (large enough to fit all the peppers) in a slightly overlapping manner. Pour in the water.
Cover and cook over medium heat, until liquid is reduced to oil and the rice is fully cooked, about 1 hour. Note that the cooked peppers should not be mushy and should hold their shape nicely. Remove from the heat. If you wish, drizzle some olive oil on top of the peppers. Cover and allow to cool completely (yes, covered). Serve cold. This dolma stores well in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Adapted from food.com