baby bell peppers stuffed with cream cheese and fresh ricotta

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Baby Peppers!  Anaheim, cubanelle, poblano or jalapeno…I love them all!

Poblanos are my favorite in the not-so-spicy category since they’re the most versatile and have the best flavor.  I love to make corn muffins in poblano cups or just stuff your baby peppers with a yummy rice mixture and bake – they always turn out delish!

Jalapenos and serranos are the best when I’m in the mood for spice – which is pretty much always.  Stuffed jalapenos wrapped in bacon?  Oh, yeah!!  Added to freshly made salsa?  Even better!

The baby pepper I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with is the good ol’ bell.  Growing up, there were only two ways to eat it – as a pizza topping or in my mom’s mexican rice casserole.  I love both pizza and anything my mom makes, but the green pepper just never really did it for me.

The red, orange and yellow bell baby peppers have really become popular in recent years.  A bit sweeter and,  in my opinion, less bitter with a better flavor, these baby peppers have really won me over.  You can’t beat the beautiful color contrasts to add a little pizzazz to the dinner table!  I love to buy the baby bells in the convenient little package, all red and yellow and orange and gorgeous!!  The options are endless with what you can do with these little beauties.

A couple of weeks ago I’d purchased some fresh ricotta at the farmer’s market from Blue Ridge Dairy, a groovy little company that sells all kinds of delicious fresh cheeses and yogurts.  The woman selling the cheese that day could not have been more friendly and I think we could have chatted all day long!  Turns out her husband and my husband both played water polo in high school in California on rival teams!  Small world!  Miss Michelle and I are going to hang out soon – how fun is that?  Don’cha just love meeting super cool people in unexpected places?!!  But anyway, about that fresh ricotta…

I knew immediately what I was going to use it for.  The week before I’d been lazying around my sister’s house, flipping through the current issue of Food & Wine (could’ve also been Bon Appetit…not sure about that one) when I came across the recipe for these stuffed peppers.  They looked AMAZING and I knew they would be on my very own grill in the very near future.  I had to hand-write the recipe on a piece of scratch paper (do you know how long it’s been since I’ve actually written something with an actual PENCIL and not typed it on a computer?!!)  I stuffed it into my already over-stuffed purse for safekeeping and rushed to the store to buy me some baby bells!

Their recipe calls for using anaheim, poblano and baby bell peppers, all of which would be delicious.  I opted to use only the baby bells, for two reasons: one, the poblanos and anaheims at the market that particular day were HUGE, and two, I knew the only people in our house who would touch these peppers were my husband and myself (both my kids are going through the frustrating all-food-looks-suspicious-unless-it’s-a-pop-tart-stage).  I’ll post the recipe as I copied it from the magazine and you can choose to adapt it however best suits you!

baby bells, stuffed and ready for the grill
baby bells, stuffed and ready for the grill

baby bell peppers stuffed with cream cheese and fresh ricotta (or, cheese stuffed grilled peppers)

  • 1 cup fresh ricotta
  • 1 cup softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 anaheim or cubanelle peppers
  • 4 baby bell peppers
  • 4 small poblano peppers
  • olive oil

Blend all cheeses together, then season with salt and pepper.

Heat a grill or grill pan.  Remove stems, seeds and membranes.  Fill peppers and reattach the tops.  Rub peppers with olive oil.  Grill until peppers are blistered and filling is hot, about seven minutes.

Peppers can be stuffed and refrigerated overnight.  Bring to room temperature before grilling.

Notes:

Use a small paring knife to cut out the stem; the seeds will pop right out with the stem.

I found it difficult to get the peppers to blister before the filling got hot and started oozing out the tops.  I plan to partially grill the peppers next time, then cooling before filling and re-grilling.

I served these with honey ginger braided salmon – delish!!

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