Broccoli Pesto Pasta with Green Olives

Broccoli, pesto, and green olives—believe it! This pasta recipe tastes so fresh. It’s perfectly suited for springtime dinners, though I think you’ll want to keep it in…

The post Broccoli Pesto Pasta with Green Olives appeared first on Cookie and Kate.

broccoli pesto pasta recipe

Broccoli, pesto, and green olives—believe it! This pasta recipe tastes so fresh. It’s perfectly suited for springtime dinners, though I think you’ll want to keep it in your repertoire for the rest of the year.

I wouldn’t have come up with this pasta combination myself, so I’m glad I found the recipe in my friend Kelly Senyei’s new cookbook, The Secret Ingredient Cookbook. You might know Kelly from her blog, Just a Taste. Kelly is a delightful person, a professionally trained chef and a hard-working mom to three boys, all under the age of five.

broccoli pesto pasta ingredients

Kelly’s new cookbook offers 125 family-friendly recipes with fun secret ingredient twists. I don’t want to spoil all the surprises, but I’m looking forward to trying the Caesar pasta salad (with avocado), Greek chopped salad (with halloumi cheese), 30-minute mac and cheese (with pumpkin) and mushroom ravioli with brown butter sauce (with goat cheese, and made entirely from scratch). And good gracious, wait until you see the desserts.

This broccoli pesto pasta recipe includes green olives as the secret ingredient. They offer a delicious briny olive flavor and cover up the flavor of the broccoli. She says her boys absolutely love this dish, so this dish is designed for the whole family. I found some ricotta in my fridge and really enjoyed a few dollops over my bowl. Serve it as you please!

Continue to the recipe...

The post Broccoli Pesto Pasta with Green Olives appeared first on Cookie and Kate.

Homemade Cannoli

Homemade Cannoli
This old family recipe includes homemade cannoli shells made with wine and a simple, cooked sweetened ricotta filling.
READ: Homemade Cannoli

Two rows of homemade cannoli stacked on each other on top of a cooling rack.

Homemade Cannoli

This old family recipe includes homemade cannoli shells made with wine and a simple, cooked sweetened ricotta filling.

READ: Homemade Cannoli

Italian Pasta Salad (Family Favorite!)

Italian Pasta Salad (Family Favorite!)
This pasta salad is our family’s favorite! It’s served cold, loaded with pepperoni, cheese and other add-ins, and tossed with homemade Italian dressing.
READ: Italian Pasta Salad (Family Favorite!)

Italian Pasta Salad (Family Favorite!)

This pasta salad is our family's favorite! It's served cold, loaded with pepperoni, cheese and other add-ins, and tossed with homemade Italian dressing.

READ: Italian Pasta Salad (Family Favorite!)

The Best Focaccia Pizza

Here’s how to make focaccia pizza! This recipe makes a deliciously thick crust for all your favorite toppings: ready in just a few hours. Oh hello, beautifully fluffy crust and melty cheese. Here’s a new style of pizza to add to your repertoire: focaccia pizza! This is the exact opposite of the Neapolitan style pizza with a thin and chewy crust. Instead this pizza is built on focaccia bread: massively thick, pillowy on the inside, and crunchy on the outside. It’s actually reminiscent of a style of Roman pizza you can get in the city today. It makes a massive sheet pan, the equivalent of three pizzas. Oh, and it will make your entire house smell like a pizzeria. (We know from experience.) Ready to get started? How to make focaccia pizza: an overview Focaccia pizza is a style of pizza where you’ll make a homemade focaccia bread, then add toppings and bake it like a pizza. It’s actually similar to Bonci-style pizza that Alex and I had in Rome, though that style has a bubblier crust. Why? Well, most focaccia pizza recipes require making the dough in advance and resting it for 24 hours or more. But for our […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Here’s how to make focaccia pizza! This recipe makes a deliciously thick crust for all your favorite toppings: ready in just a few hours.

Focaccia Pizza

Oh hello, beautifully fluffy crust and melty cheese. Here’s a new style of pizza to add to your repertoire: focaccia pizza! This is the exact opposite of the Neapolitan style pizza with a thin and chewy crust. Instead this pizza is built on focaccia bread: massively thick, pillowy on the inside, and crunchy on the outside. It’s actually reminiscent of a style of Roman pizza you can get in the city today. It makes a massive sheet pan, the equivalent of three pizzas. Oh, and it will make your entire house smell like a pizzeria. (We know from experience.) Ready to get started?

How to make focaccia pizza: an overview

Focaccia pizza is a style of pizza where you’ll make a homemade focaccia bread, then add toppings and bake it like a pizza. It’s actually similar to Bonci-style pizza that Alex and I had in Rome, though that style has a bubblier crust. Why? Well, most focaccia pizza recipes require making the dough in advance and resting it for 24 hours or more.

But for our spin, we wanted a focaccia pizza you can bake in the same day (mainly because we hate thinking ahead!). This is considered a fast focaccia pizza: prep is a little over 2 hours: no advanced planning required! Since it does require a few hours before you eat, this recipe is great for weekends and days off, or anytime if you’re lucky enough to work or watch kids from home. The tradeoff of this fast version is that the crust is slightly less bubbly than a traditional focaccia…but to us it’s worth it. Here’s a breakdown in the timing:

Make the dough15 minutes, active
Rest the dough (Proof 1)45 minutes, inactive
Press the dough into a sheet pan and rest15 minutes, inactive
Rest the dough again (Proof 2)1 hour, inactive
Bake the pizza20 minutes
Focaccia pizza

Making the dough: weights are most accurate

Here’s something to note about focaccia pizza dough. When you’re baking it up, measuring the ingredients by weight is most accurate! Why? The environment and the way you pack the measuring cups can both affect the exact weight. So using a food scale is the most accurate way to measure out quantities when baking something precise like dough.

  • Need a food scale? Here’s the food scale we use. It’s also what we use for our morning pourover coffee!
  • Don’t have one? Use the spoon and level method. Spoon the dry ingredient into the measuring cup, then level it off (instead of plunging the entire cup into the flour container).

Focaccia pizza crust requires two proofs!

What’s the trick to the best focaccia pizza crust? Two proofs. If you’re an experienced baker (or at least watch the Great British Baking Show), you’ll know this means resting the pizza dough. Proofing is when you let bread dough rest after you’ve added yeast so that it rises. The trick to getting a super thick, pillowy crust is resting it twice. This is the same method as in our cast iron skillet pizza.

Of course if you were making true focaccia bread, you’d rest 24 hours to get massive bubbles. But we’re going for a day-of pizza recipe! If you prefer a super bubbly crust, this is not the one.

Focaccia pizza

Otherwise, baking focaccia pizza is easy

So, you have to wait for 2 hours for your pizza dough to rise. But guess what? The rest of the process is much easier than a traditional pizza? Why? You don’t have to bother with shaping a dough, or using a pizza peel or pizza stone, which we do with our traditional method. Just throw it into the sheet pan, and throw that in the oven. Easy as pie! Pizza pie, that is.

One last note: there’s a specific method to baking this sheet pan focaccia pizza:

  • First, bake the crust without toppings for 10 minutes. This is similar to baking up the focaccia bread! It makes it nice and crispy on the edges.
  • Then bake with toppings (another 10 minutes). Pull it out of the oven and add the toppings. Take care since the pan will be hot at this point!
Focaccia pizza

This recipe is equivalent of 3 pizzas in 1!

Another great feature of this focaccia pizza: it’s the equivalent of 3 pizzas in 1! That means you don’t have to make separate pizzas for the family. Just make this one sheet pan, and it’s enough for everyone. You also may want to split up the toppings, so you get a few different topping options. Speaking of that…

Topping ideas for focaccia pizza

There are many ways to top a focaccia pizza! In the recipe below, we shared what we did. We used our amazing Easy Pizza Sauce, which we guarantee you’ll be obsessed with. Then we topped it with smoked mozzarella cheese and fresh mozzarella, which is an irresistible combination. (Try it! Let us know what you think). But if you prefer, go free form or we’ve got some other ideas:

Focaccia pizza recipe

This focaccia pizza recipe is…

Vegetarian. For vegan, top with Vegan Pizza toppings.

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Focaccia pizza

The Best Focaccia Pizza (Fast!)


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 35 minutes
  • Yield: 12 squares (about 6 servings)
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Here’s how to make focaccia pizza! This recipe makes a deliciously thick crust for all your favorite toppings: ready in just a few hours.


Ingredients

For the focaccia

  • 562 grams (4 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon instant or active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 355 grams (1 1/2 cups) warm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

For the pizza

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, for brushing the sheet pan
  • 1 1/4 cups Easy Pizza Sauce
  • 3/4 cup shredded smoked mozzarella
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt, for sprinkling
  • Fresh basil, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Make the dough: In a large bowl, stir together the all-purpose flour, yeast, kosher salt, oregano and garlic powder. Add the warm water and olive oil and stir until flour is incorporated.
  2. Knead the dough: Knead the dough by pushing with the base of your palm, then reforming it into a ball. Continue kneading for 8 minutes until the dough feels pillowy and has a smooth, stretchy exterior. If the dough is very sticky, add a small amount of flour while kneading. Alternatively: attach the dough hook to a stand mixer and start the mixer on medium-low speed, then allow the mixer to knead for 8 minutes.
  3. Rest the dough (45 minutes): Using floured hands, gently shape the dough into a boule (ball shape) by folding the dough under itself. Place it in a covered bowl and allow it to rest for 45 minutes, until doubled in size.
  4. Rest the dough in a sheet pan (15 minutes): Brush 3 tablespoons olive oil on the bottom and sides of a standard 13″x 18″ sheet pan. Add the dough and press it with oiled fingers until it evenly covers the pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and rest for 15 minutes to relax the dough. 
  5. Rest the dough again (1 hour): Press the dough back into the corners of the pan. Dot the entire surface with finger indentations (see the photo above; this helps the thickness to stay even). Brush top of the dough with a bit of olive oil and rest for 1 hour.
  6. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 515 degrees Fahrenheit.
  7. Bake the pizza dough without toppings: After the 1 hour rest, place the sheet pan in the oven and bake the pizza dough for 10 minutes without the sauce and toppings.
  8. Add the toppings and bake again: Remove the dough from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Add the pizza sauce, smoked mozzarella, fresh mozzarella (torn into pieces), and Parmesan cheese, and top with a few pinches of kosher salt. Take care, since the pan will be hot! Bake an additional 8 to 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and lightly browned. Sprinkle with torn basil. Cut into pieces with a knife (a pizza cutter doesn’t get all the way to the pan edges) and serve immediately. 

Notes

*For vegan, top with Vegan Pizza toppings.

  • Category: Pizza
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Focaccia pizza, Sheet pan pizza

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Cheese Tortellini in Creamy Marinara

Cheese tortellini makes the best quick dinner recipe! Serve it up in a creamy marinara sauce flavored with goat cheese and basil. Some meatless recipes stand a head above the rest, and this is one of them. In fact, I think we’d be happy eating this genius quick dinner every day of the week. Try this cheese tortellini in creamy marinara sauce! In just 15 minutes, you’ve got a pasta skillet that’s a literal symphony flavor. The fresh basil-infused marinara sauce is perfectly complimented with pillows of tangy goat cheese. (In fact, it’s our baked goat cheese dip made into a main dish, because we love it so much we needed a way to justify it as dinner.) This one is a huge hit in our house…and we hope it will be in yours too! Best cheese tortellini to buy Cheese tortellini often escapes our radar when it comes to pasta: usually we think of penne, spirals or macaroni. But there’s lots of high quality tortellini in grocery stores these days! Tortellini are traditional ring-shaped Italian filled pasta. In Italy you can get them freshly made at local shops. What to look for if you’re not in Italy? Fresh tortellini […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Cheese tortellini makes the best quick dinner recipe! Serve it up in a creamy marinara sauce flavored with goat cheese and basil.

Cheese tortellini

Some meatless recipes stand a head above the rest, and this is one of them. In fact, I think we’d be happy eating this genius quick dinner every day of the week. Try this cheese tortellini in creamy marinara sauce! In just 15 minutes, you’ve got a pasta skillet that’s a literal symphony flavor. The fresh basil-infused marinara sauce is perfectly complimented with pillows of tangy goat cheese. (In fact, it’s our baked goat cheese dip made into a main dish, because we love it so much we needed a way to justify it as dinner.) This one is a huge hit in our house…and we hope it will be in yours too!

Best cheese tortellini to buy

Cheese tortellini often escapes our radar when it comes to pasta: usually we think of penne, spirals or macaroni. But there’s lots of high quality tortellini in grocery stores these days! Tortellini are traditional ring-shaped Italian filled pasta. In Italy you can get them freshly made at local shops. What to look for if you’re not in Italy?

  • Fresh tortellini is sold refrigerated. This is usually the best quality when it comes to tortellini recipes. It boils up in just 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Frozen tortellini is also a good option. We like frozen because it saves well and you can pull it out at moments notice.
  • Avoid dried tortellini. Tortellini isn’t traditionally a dried pasta: and all the brands we’ve tried dried just haven’t measured up.
  • Look for any type of cheese tortellini for this recipe. Use 3 cheese, spinach ricotta, Parmesan: any type of cheese flavor will work.
Cheese tortellini

Secrets to the best creamy marinara sauce

This tasty cheese tortellini recipe is engineered by us to be two things: mega quick and mega delicious! This one’s like a cross between our famous baked goat cheese and our goat cheese pasta. It capitalizes on the best flavor pairing: a great tomato sauce that’s made creamy using soft goat cheese. Here are a few tips for the very best creamy marinara:

  • Use canned fire roasted tomatoes. This special type of tomato is becoming easy to find. It’s charred over an open flame, which gives them a beautifully sweet flavor right out of the can. Can’t find them? Use the best quality tomatoes you can find.
  • Use fresh basil. It’s a splurge in winter, but it’s absolutely worth it for the peppery flavor it imparts.
  • Use soft goat cheese (chevre). You might think a creamy marinara is good with heavy cream. But it’s great with soft goat cheese! None of those hard crumbles with the texture of feta: this sauce deserves a good chevre.

Why it works

Here you’ll use soft goat cheese to crumble into the marinara, and it adds a tang and a creamy body that makes it taste like a best-in-class gourmet meal. Add those beautifully boiled cheese tortellini, and every bite is velvety, heavenly goodness. You can save out a few goat cheese crumbles as a topping, too.

We like to add a little spinach into the mix too! It adds nutrients but the way it melds into the skillet, you can barely tell that it’s there.

Tortellini in skillet

Is goat cheese healthy? How does it compare to cow’s cheese?

You may have heard that when it comes to cheese, goat cheese can be a healthier option that other cheeses. You’re right! There are a few advantages to choosing this cheese vs a mozzarella or a Parmesan. Goat cheese has the following going for it (source: Prevention):

  • More vitamins and minerals than cow’s cheese. Goat’s milk is richer in essential nutrients than cow’s milk. It has more vitamin A & B, calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium.
  • Slightly less calories than cow’s cheese. Goat cheese has just 75 calories per ounce—less than cow cheeses like mozzarella (85 calories), Swiss (108 calories), and cheddar (115 calories).
  • May be easier to digest. Goat cheese has less lactose than cow’s milk and a slightly different protein structure, so people who are lactose intolerant many times can digest goat cheese.

Can you make it gluten-free?

Yes! There are actually some good brands of gluten free tortellini on the market these days. We don’t eat exclusively gluten-free, so we don’t have a preferred brand. But there are lots of great options in both refrigerated and frozen varieties. Again, we recommend steering away from dried. Do you have a brand to recommend? Let us know in the comments below.

Tortellini recipes

What to serve with cheese tortellini!

This cheese tortellini recipe is an ideal quick dinner: it takes less than 20 minutes to whip up! Pair it with a simple side dish or two and you’re in business. It’s ideal for Meatless Mondays or impressing friends with a tasty vegetarian dinner. Of course, it can be harder than you think to find side dishes that work with the flavors, compliments it nutritionally, and is easy enough to make while you tackle the main dish. Here are a few of our favorite sides to pair here:

This cheese tortellini recipe is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free, use gluten-free tortellini.

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Cheese tortellini

Cheese Tortellini in Creamy Marinara


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Cheese tortellini makes the best quick dinner recipe! Serve it up in a creamy marinara sauce flavored with goat cheese and basil. 


Ingredients

  • 12 to 16 ounces frozen or refrigerated cheese tortellini
  • 28 ounce can crushed fire roasted tomatoes (or best quality crushed tomatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 cups baby spinach leaves, tightly packed (or chopped spinach)
  • 8 fresh basil leaves
  • 4 ounce goat cheese log

Instructions

  1. Boil the tortellini according to the package instructions (fresh usually takes 2 to 3 minutes and frozen takes 2 to 5 minutes to boil). Then drain it. 
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, place the crushed tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, oregano, kosher salt, spinach, and whole basil leaves. Bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer while the pasta cooks or at least 10 minutes.
  3. When the pasta is done and drained, add it to the skillet. Crumble in the goat cheese into the sauce and stir until a creamy sauce forms (if you’d like, save out a few crumbles for topping). Serve immediately.
  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Dinner

Keywords: Cheese tortellini, Tortellini recipes

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Everyday Salad

My favorite “everyday” salad recipe is quick and easy to make, tossed with a simple and delicious lemony dressing, and so versatile that it goes with just about everything! Friends! Do you have a go-to side salad recipe in your repertoire that you absolutely love? This simple green salad — which we fondly call our […]

My favorite “everyday” salad recipe is quick and easy to make, tossed with a simple and delicious lemony dressing, and so versatile that it goes with just about everything!

Everyday Salad Recipe

Friends! Do you have a go-to side salad recipe in your repertoire that you absolutely love? This simple green salad — which we fondly call our “everyday” salad here in our house — is mine.

It’s the no-frills, easy-breezy, fresh-and-flavorful, always-a-winner green salad recipe that we make most often here in our house behind the scenes. And even after eating it literally hundreds of times, it’s one of those staple recipes that we somehow never grow tired of. It’s incredibly quick and easy to make with a bag of greens (we most often use spring greens), a veggie or two (we usually add red onion, plus cucumber, bell pepper, carrot, or whatever’s in the crisper drawer), a sprinkling of nuts/seeds for protein and crunch (we’re partial to pepitas or sunflower seeds), and my favorite “everyday” salad dressing (that’s super-simple to whip up). Best of all, this tossed salad comes together in less than 10 minutes and always tastes wonderfully light and fresh and flavorful. And it also happens to be naturally gluten-free and vegan — and somehow magically goes with just about any meal!

The sky’s the limit, of course, when it comes to customizing this recipe with whatever greens, veggies, nuts, or even dressing ingredients that you happen to have on hand. And if you feel like making a meal out of this salad, it also tastes delicious with an extra protein (such as chicken or shrimp) and/or some croutons added in too.

Anyway, if you’re interested in working more salads into your weekly lunch and dinner rotations, I hope you’ll give this salad recipe a try. It is definitely a favorite here in our house! (more…)

Creamy Mushroom Risotto

You’ll want to make this mushroom risotto recipe again and again! It’s irresistibly creamy, flavored with wine and Parmesan cheese. Here’s a deliciously creamy, cozy recipe that’s ideal in any season: Mushroom Risotto! This one is full of robust earthy flavor and the best canvas for any type of mushroom you have on hand. Throw them together with Parmesan cheese, white wine and if you like, a homemade mushroom broth. You won’t believe the silky, irresistible flavors! We made this one to celebrate spring with a combo of baby bella and baby shiitake mushrooms, and we couldn’t stop sneaking bites from the pan. What’s in mushroom risotto? Risotto is a creamy Italian rice dish that’s made using short grain rice and broth. When I first started learning about home cooking, I thought risotto was a product from a box marked “risotto”. Nope! All you need is short grain arborio rice, which plumps up and becomes creamy when you cook it with liquid. You’ll need a handful of simple ingredients for this mushroom risotto. The flavors are crisp and pure. Here’s what you’ll need: White arborio rice: a short-grain Italian rice used for making risotto Mushrooms: a variety of types is nice; […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

You’ll want to make this mushroom risotto recipe again and again! It’s irresistibly creamy, flavored with wine and Parmesan cheese.

Mushroom risotto

Here’s a deliciously creamy, cozy recipe that’s ideal in any season: Mushroom Risotto! This one is full of robust earthy flavor and the best canvas for any type of mushroom you have on hand. Throw them together with Parmesan cheese, white wine and if you like, a homemade mushroom broth. You won’t believe the silky, irresistible flavors! We made this one to celebrate spring with a combo of baby bella and baby shiitake mushrooms, and we couldn’t stop sneaking bites from the pan.

What’s in mushroom risotto?

Risotto is a creamy Italian rice dish that’s made using short grain rice and broth. When I first started learning about home cooking, I thought risotto was a product from a box marked “risotto”. Nope! All you need is short grain arborio rice, which plumps up and becomes creamy when you cook it with liquid.

You’ll need a handful of simple ingredients for this mushroom risotto. The flavors are crisp and pure. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • White arborio rice: a short-grain Italian rice used for making risotto
  • Mushrooms: a variety of types is nice; see below
  • Broth: Homemade mushroom broth is best and takes only a few extra minutes, or use vegetable broth
  • Dry white wine: wine is essential to the nuanced flavor
  • Lemon: fresh lemon pairs perfectly with asparagus
  • Parmesan cheese: brings just the right savory notes
  • Olive oil, butter, onion, garlic powder: For flavoring
Mushroom risotto recipe

Use a mix of mushrooms for best flavor

This mushroom risotto is the perfect canvas for any type of mushroom you can find! In fact, it’s an easy way to serve a variety you might not be familiar with. Alex and I have been cooking through all the types we can find at our local grocery store: and we’ve found many new favorites! We used a combination of baby bella and baby shiitake mushrooms for the risotto you see here, but there are endless variations you can try. Here are a few types of mushrooms that would work great here:

  • Baby bella (aka cremini): This variety is a baby version of the portobello and has a savory, meaty flavor
  • Button or white: The baby stage of a cremini! It has a mild flavor and is easy to find
  • Portobello: Slice up portobellos for a super meaty flavor
  • Shiitake: Their earthy flavor is perfect here; if you can find baby shiitakes you can leave on the stems
  • Oyster: This variety has a delicate and savory flavor; if you can find King Oyster mushrooms the flavor is even more meaty
  • Maitake or Hen of the Woods: this variety is feathery with a peppery finish and great in a risotto!

Other varieties you could consider if you can find them: Lion’s Mane or Beech.

Homemade mushroom broth is the star

The other key to flavor in this mushroom risotto recipe? Homemade mushroom broth! If you’re running low on time, you can substitute purchased mushroom broth or vegetable broth (see the recipe below). But we highly recommend homemade: it infuses the entire risotto with earthy, savory flavor! Here are the basic steps (or jump over to the Mushroom Broth recipe):

  • Chop fresh veggies, and grab some dried mushrooms. You’ll need both fresh and dry mushrooms: dry porcini mushrooms work best. Chop the fresh ones and add carrot and celery to the mix. Throw them in a pot with water and salt.
  • Simmer 15 minutes. That’s all you need to get great flavor! The dried porcini mushrooms add a massive amount of umami.

For the specific instructions and quantities, go to Homemade Mushroom Broth recipe.

Mushroom broth
Homemade mushroom broth adds huge flavor (and only 5 extra minutes)

The keys to making mushroom risotto

Making homemade risotto is pretty simple, though it might seem complex if you haven’t tried it before. Just cook short grain rice with broth until it becomes extraordinarily creamy! You’ll sauté your mushrooms first, then set them aside while you cook the risotto. Here are some keys to great homemade risotto:

  • Use arborio rice. You should be able to find it at most grocery stores. This variety of rice becomes plump when it’s cooked with liquid.
  • Heat the broth first. This is important. Warm broth helps it to cook into the rice right away without lowering the temperature of the food. Of course, it’s already warm when you make the homemade broth!
  • Add warm broth 2 ladles at a time and stir until rice is al dente (about 12 minutes). This process does require a bit of babysitting. Continue this process until the rice is just al dente.
  • Add Parmesan & the mushrooms. Once it’s al dente, add the Parmesan cheese and stir vigorously for 2 minutes until it’s very creamy. Add the mushrooms and serve!
Mushroom risotto

Make ahead and storage instructions

Can you make this mushroom risotto ahead? Technically you can, but risotto is best freshly made. Why? Here are a few pointers:

  • Serve it freshly made if possible. The creamy texture is best right out of the pan. Because…
  • You can store refrigerated 3 days, but it becomes less creamy. The rice soaks up a lot of the broth in the refrigerator.
  • Reheat on the stove with additional broth or Parmesan. You’ll need a little more liquid to get it back to a creamy texture. Additional Parmesan and a few pinches salt can revive the flavor.
  • Make ahead ideas: To speed up prep day of, you can make the mushroom broth in advance. You can also saute the mushrooms in advance; just refrigerate until you make it.
Mushroom risotto

Sides to serve with risotto

You can serve this mushroom risotto as a vegetarian main dish, or it also works as a fancy side dish for fish or meat. Usually we go vegetarian for this meal, since 45 minutes is quite a while for making a side dish. But if you’re serving it for a fancy dinner party: it’s absolutely perfect! Here are a few easy ideas for what to serve with risotto when you’re serving as a main dish:

Want more risotto recipes? Try our Asparagus RisottoButternut Squash RisottoCauliflower Risotto and Parmesan Risotto.

This mushroom risotto recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free.

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Mushroom risotto

Creamy Mushroom Risotto


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

You’ll want to make this mushroom risotto recipe again and again! It’s irresistibly creamy, flavored with wine and Parmesan cheese. 


Ingredients

  • 2 quarts Homemade Mushroom Broth, purchased mushroom broth, or 1 quart vegetable broth, 4 cups water and 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms: a mix of baby bella (aka cremini), button, shiitake, portobello, oyster, or other
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups white arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay (optional but recommended)
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • For serving: Zest from 1/2 lemon, freshly ground black pepper, and fresh thyme

Instructions

  1. Heat the broth: Make the mushroom broth (our preferred method for best flavor) and start the 15 minute simmer. OR combine 1 quart vegetable broth, 4 cups water, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a saucepan and place it over low heat. The homemade broth only adds a few minutes to the cook time, so we highly recommend it! Simmer it while you complete Step 2, 3 and 4.
  2. Cut the vegetables: Finely mince the onion, then place it in a bowl and reserve. Slice the mushrooms (we used a mix of baby bella and baby shiitake).
  3. Saute the mushrooms: Add 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until browned, stirring occasionally: about 5 to 7 minutes depending on mushrooms. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt, then remove from the pan and set aside.
  4. Start the risotto: In the same skillet, heat the olive oil and the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the minced onion and cook for about 2 minutes until tender. Add the garlic powder and rice and cook, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes until the rice starts to turn light brown. Stir in the wine and cook until the liquid is fully absorbed, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the broth: Add two ladles of the hot broth to the risotto. Cook, stirring occasionally until the liquid is fully absorbed, then add two more ladles of both. Cook in this same manner for about 12 minutes, adding two ladles and stirring. Then taste a grain of rice. If it’s creamy but still al dente in the center, you’re ready for the final step! If not, continue to cook and add broth for a few minutes more. (You may have some broth left over: save it for reheating leftovers.)
  6. Finish the risotto: When the rice is al dente, reduce the heat to low. Add two more ladles of broth, the Parmesan cheese and a few grinds of black pepper. Stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes until you’ve got a thick and creamy risotto. Then stir in the sautéed mushrooms. Taste and add additional kosher salt if desired. Serve topped with lemon zest, Parmesan shavings, fresh thyme, and black pepper.
  7. Storage info: Flavor is best day of. You can store leftovers refrigerated for up to 3 days, but the texture will become less creamy when chilled. Reheat on the stovetop and add a little extra broth and Parmesan cheese, and a few pinches salt to taste. (See Make Ahead section above for tips.)
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian-inspired

Keywords: Mushroom risotto, Mushroom risotto recipe

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Tonnato Is the Sauce to Lead You From Winter to Spring

Every month, Melina Hammer, Food52’s very own Hudson Valley correspondent, is serving up all the bounty that upstate New York has to offer.

Tonnato originally hails from Piedmont Italy, made possible with tuna caught from nearby coastal Liguria. The…

Every month, Melina Hammer, Food52's very own Hudson Valley correspondent, is serving up all the bounty that upstate New York has to offer.


Tonnato originally hails from Piedmont Italy, made possible with tuna caught from nearby coastal Liguria. The original sauce consisted of tuna, pounded with anchovies, capers, and olive oil to render it creamy.

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Creamy Tortellini Soup

This 5-star tortellini soup is lusciously creamy! It’s easy and under 30 minutes, with big flavor from tomatoes, spinach, and Parmesan. Here’s a soup that will make people come flocking and might result in a few marriage proposals: this creamy tortellini soup! This is one for the books. You can make it in under 30 minutes, and the flavor that results is simply killer. Tomatoes, basil, Parmesan and cream make a lusciously flavored broth that floats with doughy orbs of tortellini. In fact, we put down our spoons in amazement at first bite. Then I made a mental note to put it on the regular rotation…stat. Ingredients in tortellini soup There are many ways to make a tortellini soup. A traditional Italian way to serve it is called tortellini en brodo, where the filled pasta floats in a simple broth. For our spin, we went for a tomato-basil-meets-tortellini vibe, where a creamy tomato broth provides the backdrop for the delightful doughy pasta. Here’s what you’ll need for this Italian soup: Tortellini Onion and garlic Crushed fire roasted tomatoes: Fire roasted is key! See the section below. Tomato paste Vegetable broth Olive oil and salt Dried oregano and dried basil Spinach […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This 5-star tortellini soup is lusciously creamy! It’s easy and under 30 minutes, with big flavor from tomatoes, spinach, and Parmesan.

Creamy Tortellini Soup

Here’s a soup that will make people come flocking and might result in a few marriage proposals: this creamy tortellini soup! This is one for the books. You can make it in under 30 minutes, and the flavor that results is simply killer. Tomatoes, basil, Parmesan and cream make a lusciously flavored broth that floats with doughy orbs of tortellini. In fact, we put down our spoons in amazement at first bite. Then I made a mental note to put it on the regular rotation…stat.

Ingredients in tortellini soup

There are many ways to make a tortellini soup. A traditional Italian way to serve it is called tortellini en brodo, where the filled pasta floats in a simple broth. For our spin, we went for a tomato-basil-meets-tortellini vibe, where a creamy tomato broth provides the backdrop for the delightful doughy pasta. Here’s what you’ll need for this Italian soup:

  • Tortellini
  • Onion and garlic
  • Crushed fire roasted tomatoes: Fire roasted is key! See the section below.
  • Tomato paste
  • Vegetable broth
  • Olive oil and salt
  • Dried oregano and dried basil
  • Spinach
  • Fresh basil
  • Heavy cream or substitute whole milk
  • Parmesan cheese, grated
Tortellini soup

Find fire roasted tomatoes if you can!

Fire roasted tomatoes are key to getting just the right flavor in this tortellini soup. If you’ve been around for a while, you know we cook with them often. What are they and why are they so special?

  • Fire roasted tomatoes are a type of canned tomato that’s cooked over an open flame before canning. It makes the flavor beautifully sweet out of the can, instead of acidic like many canned tomato varieties. It’s a cooking method, not a brand!
  • Where to get them? This type of tomatoes are becoming pretty easy to find in grocery stores in the US; they’re sold by several brands. Look in the canned tomatoes section.
  • What if you can’t find them? Substitute the best quality canned tomatoes you can find.

What makes it a creamy tortellini soup…and a substitute

Our recipes are generally on the healthy side, so you won’t often see us cooking with heavy cream. But there are always exceptions, right? And this creamy tortellini soup is one of them. Why cook with cream here? It adds an intense richness, depth, and body of the soup that just can’t be replicated by 2% milk. Worried about using cream, though?

You can use whole milk or half and half instead as a substitute! How do they compare? Well, heavy cream is 36% milkfat, whereas half and half is 10% and whole milk is 3%. So these types of dairy have significantly less fat than heavy cream. Pick whatever seems right for you!

Tortellini soup

Tortellini soup variations for any diet: vegetarian, vegan & more

This recipe is a vegetarian tortellini soup: assuming you use tortellini with no meat! It’s one of those recipes you wouldn’t think of being vegetarian…because it’s so packed with flavor. People of any diet love this one (promise!). You can also make it vegan, or add Italian sausage for meat eaters. Here are a few options:

  • Vegetarian tortellini soup: This is already vegetarian: just use a cheese or spinach ravioli!
  • Vegan tortellini soup: Buy vegan tortellini: there are some great brands out there these days! Then substitute Cashew Cream for the heavy cream and Parmesan.
  • Gluten free tortellini soup: Use gluten free tortellini. Again, there are some great options out there these days.
  • Sausage tortellini soup: Cook 1 pound Italian sausage in the pan until browned, about 3 minutes, draining the fat as necessary. Then make the remaining soup, using slightly less salt.

Let us know your favorite gluten free or vegan tortellini brands in the comments below! We’d love to know your recommendations.

Tortellini soup

Make it a meal: side ideas!

This tortellini soup is delicious and satisfying, but not quite filling enough on its own to be a meal. We’d suggest pairing it with a salad or grilled cheese to make a full meal. Here are some ideas:

Storage, reheating and make ahead tips

This tortellini soup is best hot from the stove! But if you have leftovers or want to make it ahead, we’ve got some tips.

  • Store leftovers refrigerated, noting that the pasta soaks up the broth. The pasta soaks up even more of the broth when you refrigerate, so it can become very thick. You may want to add a splash of water when reheating.
  • Make the soup ahead without the tortellini. If you make it ahead, make it without the tortellini and refrigerate. Then heat it up and cook the tortellini right before serving. 

This tortellini soup recipe is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free or vegan, see variations above.

Print
Tortellini soup

Creamy Tortellini Soup (30 minutes!)


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (12 votes, average: 4.83 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This 5-star tortellini soup is lusciously creamy! It’s easy and under 30 minutes, with big flavor from tomatoes, spinach, and Parmesan.


Ingredients

  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 28-ounce fire roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon each dried oregano and dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 4 cups baby spinach (or chopped standard spinach), packed
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves (about 6 to 8 large leaves)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (or half and half or whole milk)*
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 12 to 16 ounces frozen or refrigerated tortellini, any flavor

Instructions

  1. Dice the onion. Mince the garlic.
  2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté for about 5 to 6 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté 30 seconds more. 
  3. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, broth, herbs and kosher salt. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 8 minutes. 
  4. Stir in the spinach, basil leaves, heavy cream and Parmesan cheese. Bring to simmer and add the tortellini. Cook according to the package instructions: about 2 to 3 minutes for refrigerated and 3 to 5 minutes for frozen. Taste and add additional salt as desired (we added another 1/4 teaspoon). Serve immediately.
  5. Make ahead and storage: Store leftovers refrigerated. The pasta does soak up quite a bit of the broth, so you may want to add a splash of water when reheating. If you make it ahead, we recommend making the soup without the tortellini; then heat it up and cook the pasta right before serving. 

Notes

*Vegan variation: use vegan tortellini and substitute 1/2 cup Cashew Cream for the heavy cream and Parmesan, adding more to taste as desired.

  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian inspired

Keywords: Tortellini soup, creamy tortellini soup

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Classic Stuffed Peppers

This stuffed peppers recipe is a hit every time! The roasted bell peppers are filled to the brim with melty cheese and Italian flavor. Did you know stuffed peppers is a traditional Italian way to use up leftover odds and ends in your kitchen? We can’t take credit for this genius move, but here’s our spin on it. Try our favorite stuffed peppers recipe! The filling is seasoned irresistibly with Italian spices, pizza sauce and melty cheese. Even better: it works for many diets. We’ve got variations for meat eaters, vegetarian, and gluten-free eaters! (Vegan too, if you want to skip the cheese.) Here’s how to make stuffed peppers…the best way we know how. How to make stuffed peppers There are a few main ways to make stuffed peppers: the variations are in the way you cut them, and how you pre-cook them before filling. Here’s what to know about this stuffed peppers recipe: Slice the peppers lengthwise. We’re picky about our peppers. Eating them straight up with the top cut off makes them hard to eat (in our opinion). Cutting them lengthwise makes them easier to eat. Plus, you get 2 halves on your plate: which looks better and […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This stuffed peppers recipe is a hit every time! The roasted bell peppers are filled to the brim with melty cheese and Italian flavor.

Stuffed Peppers

Did you know stuffed peppers is a traditional Italian way to use up leftover odds and ends in your kitchen? We can’t take credit for this genius move, but here’s our spin on it. Try our favorite stuffed peppers recipe! The filling is seasoned irresistibly with Italian spices, pizza sauce and melty cheese. Even better: it works for many diets. We’ve got variations for meat eaters, vegetarian, and gluten-free eaters! (Vegan too, if you want to skip the cheese.) Here’s how to make stuffed peppers…the best way we know how.

How to make stuffed peppers

There are a few main ways to make stuffed peppers: the variations are in the way you cut them, and how you pre-cook them before filling. Here’s what to know about this stuffed peppers recipe:

  • Slice the peppers lengthwise. We’re picky about our peppers. Eating them straight up with the top cut off makes them hard to eat (in our opinion). Cutting them lengthwise makes them easier to eat. Plus, you get 2 halves on your plate: which looks better and like a bigger portion
  • Pre-bake the peppers! Some stuffed pepper recipes call for boiling your peppers before baking. Others don’t pre-cook them and they turn out too crunchy. Our research found that pre-baking the peppers for 30 minutes makes them perfectly tender! Once you stuff them, you’ll need 20 minutes in the hot even to get the cheese nice and melty.
Stuffed peppers recipe

Vegetarian vs ground beef filling

The best stuffed bell peppers filling, in our mind? Our insanely delicious “sausage” made with mushrooms and walnuts. Sound weird? Hear us out. Or, make the ground beef option: or maybe both ways for a family with a variety of eaters!

  • The best filling option? “Sausage” with lots of spices. Here we combined walnuts, mushrooms, and lots of spices to make an Italian-sausage spin on our Walnut Taco Meat. It is extremely delicious and satisfies even the most passionate of meat eaters (really). Or…
  • Or, make it with ground beef. We eat lots of vegetarian recipes around here. But we know: some family members just love meat! You can make this stuffed peppers recipe with ground beef using the same spices: see below!

Can you make it vegan? Yes, but the cheese is pretty integral to the overall concept. So substitute your favorite brand of vegan mozzarella cheese! The rest of the filling is vegan.

How to make stuffed peppers

Filling adders & ideas

You’ll use that vegetarian sausage or ground beef filling and mix it with rice, pizza sauce, and mozzarella cheese to make a gooey, savory and altogether irresistible filling. There are lots of fun add-in ideas for this filling (at least, we have several!). Here are some ideas to get your wheels churning — consider adding:

  • Chopped basil or fresh oregano
  • Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • Pecorino Romano cheese, shredded (a few tablespoons)
  • Feta cheese crumbles
  • Capers, drained (just 1 or 2 tablespoons adds a tasty tangy flavor)
  • Green olives, chopped (again, just 1 or 2 tablespoons)

Variations on stuffed peppers

As you might expect: there’s no one way to make stuffed peppers. It’s an Italian concept, but there are so many different styles. Here are a few ideas:

Stuffed peppers

Tips for make-ahead and meal prep

This stuffed peppers recipe takes about 1 hour to make. We typically reserve this one for special meals: a weekend or dinner party. But want to save time and make it on a weeknight? You can do that too. There are several options depending on what you’d like to do:

  • Make rice in advance: Make sure to reheat it with a splash of water and a pinch of salt before assembling the peppers. It dries out quite a bit in the refrigerator.
  • Make entire filling in advance: You can make the entire filling in advance and refrigerate. Then re-warm before stuffing the peppers.
  • Bake the bell peppers in advance: You also can pre-bake the peppers in advance, then fill and bake them day of.
  • Make the entire stuffed peppers in advance: Make the entire pepper recipe in advance and refrigerate. The day of serving, top with breadcrumbs and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes until warmed through and the cheese is melted.

Make it a meal: serving this stuffed peppers recipe!

Lastly: how to accessorize these stuffed peppers? A simple salad is what we normally opt for, which you can mix up while your peppers do their final bake. Here are a few more ideas:

Stuffed peppers recipe

Bell peppers nutrition

Here’s another great thing about stuffed bell peppers…they’re loaded with vitamins, especially Vitamin C. In fact, one serving provides 169% of daily Vitamin C. Bell peppers are:

  • A low calorie food. One medium bell pepper has only 40 calories!
  • Loaded with Vitamin C. A medium red bell pepper provides a whopping 169% of your daily vitamin C! (Source)
  • A potential preventer of anemia. Some studies indicate peppers could prevent low iron (Source).

Let us know if you try this recipe, and what you think! We hope you love it as much as our family does.

This stuffed peppers recipe is…

Vegetarian and dairy free.

Print
Stuffed peppers

Classic Stuffed Peppers


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This stuffed peppers recipe is a hit every time! The roasted bell peppers are filled to the brim with melty cheese and Italian flavor.


Ingredients

For the filling (or use 1 pound ground beef and the spices; see Step 2 below)

  • 1 cup whole walnuts
  • 4 ounces baby bella (cremini) mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari (or coconut aminos for soy free)
  • 1 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon each fennel seeds, dried oregano, smoked paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

For the stuffed peppers

  • 6 multi-colored bell peppers (red, yellow and green)
  • 3/4 cup dry rice or 2 cups cooked (reheated to warm with a splash of water and a pinch of salt)
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce (purchased or homemade)
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella balls (or cut into bite-sized chunks)
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, and/or Italian panko or bread crumbs (omit for gluten-free)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cook the rice: Start the rice to cook. (See Make Ahead Tips in the notes below*.)
  3. Pre-bake the bell peppers: Wash the peppers and cut them in half lengthwise; remove the stems and seeds. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then place the peppers on top. Bake with the cut side down for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and flip to cut side up, draining any with water. Sprinkle with salt (about a heaping 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt divided between the peppers). Bake another 15 minutes until tender, then remove and stuff (see below).
  4. Meanwhile, make the filling: Roughly chop the mushrooms. Place them in a large food processor, then add the walnuts and tamari, ketchup, spices, and salt. Pulse gently multiple times until everything is evenly chopped, being careful not to over process (or it will be too mushy). If you don’t have a food processor, use a chef’s knife to roughly chop everything and place in a bowl with the spices. 
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium low heat. Cook for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring until it releases all of its liquid then becomes dry and browned. Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Ground beef variation: Drizzle olive oil into a skillet. Add the beef with the spices and salt and pepper. Cook for about 8 minutes until browned, then drain the fat. Taste and add additional salt as needed. 
  6. Stuff the peppers: Once the peppers are pre-baked, mix the filling from the previous step with 2 cups cooked rice (measure it), pizza sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded mozzarella cheese, and kosher salt. Spoon the filling into the peppers.
  7. Bake the peppers: Top with a handful of shredded mozzarella, and grated Parmesan and/or panko or breadcrumbs. Place the peppers back onto the parchment lined baking sheet and bake 20 minutes until the cheese melts. Allow to cool a few minutes before serving. 

Notes

*Make ahead tips: You can make the rice in advance, but make sure to reheat it with a splash of water and a pinch of salt before assembling the peppers. You can make the entire filling in advance and re-warm before stuffing the peppers. You also can pre-bake the peppers in advance, then fill and bake them day of. Finally, you can make the entire pepper recipe in advance and refrigerate: then top with breadcrumbs and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes until warmed through and the cheese is melted.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian inspired

Keywords: Stuffed peppers, Stuffed peppers recipe, Stuffed bell peppers, How to make stuffed peppers

More bell pepper recipes

More to make with bell peppers? Here are all our favorite ways to serve them as a side dish:

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes