If you’ve been following The Spatularettes over the past month, it won’t exactly come as a shock when I say much of my time has been dominated by my recent marathon endeavors. I ran the Marine Corps Marathon in October and the Philadelphia Marathon this past Sunday. The thing I’ve always loved about running, particularly marathoning, is the way it brings people together. I’ve traveled thousands of miles to race with a friend, I’ve developed deep bonds with strangers while running the streets of a new city, and I’ve watched as my new “workout buddy” turned into my actual friend. Truthfully, the roots of most of my friendships, somehow trace back to running.
You know that old saying that weddings and funerals are the two things that bring people together? Thankfully the good Lord has been gracious to my group of friends, so the two things that have brought us together over the past few years have actually been weddings and marathons. As the Philadelphia Marathon approached this year, it become clear to me that for the first time in a long while, many of my “people” would be in the same place at the same time. In this day and age that is something worth celebrating! Family members, old teammates, and some of my Philly friends had all signed up to participate in one of the weekend running events (the 8k, half marathon, or full marathon) so I decided to invite everyone over to my place for a big pre-race meal on Saturday night.
The evening was full of fun, laughter, friends, and of course lots of carbs! It felt so good to have the opportunity to share two of my favorite things (food and running) with some of my absolute favorite people. We also couldn’t have been happier to help Pam celebrate her 26th birthday the day before her very first 26 mile run.
On the menu we had pasta with chicken parm meatballs (one of my favorite original Spatularette recipes), roast chicken, roasted garlic mashed potatoes (recipe coming soon!), green bean salad, beet salad, and these delicious vegetarian stuffed peppers. For dessert I made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and my roommate made her famous fruit tart (look for that recipe soon too)!
- 6 sweet bell peppers (I used red, yellow, and orange)
- 2 14 oz cans fire roasted tomatoes
- 2 zucchinis, grated
- 1 cup chopped basil leaves
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (plus more for sprinkling)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 12 oz box pastini (the teeny tiny little star shaped pasta)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the tops off of each pepper and gently scoop out the seeds. Spray a 9×9 baking pan or 2 loaf pans with cooking spray and place the peppers inside. Roast them in the 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. I always like to pre-roast my peppers before filling them so the finished product comes out extra tender.
While the peppers are roasting, start the filling. In a large bowl, combine the fire roasted tomatoes, zucchini, basil, cheese, garlic, salt and pepper. Boil the vegetable broth and cook the pastini until al dente. Drain in a sieve and add it to the bowl with the other ingredients. Gently toss with a wooden spoon until well combined. After 20 minutes, remove the peppers from the oven and fill with the tomato/pasta mixture. Pop them back in the oven for another 20 minutes. Top the peppers with the additional grated Parmesan and and let them bake for another 5-10 minutes, just until the cheese is melted.
These stuffed peppers are super easy to prep ahead of time if you are serving them for a party. I pre-roasted and filled the peppers in the morning, then left them covered in the refrigerator until dinner time. When my guests arrived I popped them in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. If you have left overs, I think these guys heat up great for a healthy lunch!
Orzo-Stuffed Peppers from Giada’s Kitchen: New Italian Favorites
Here’s to friends, family, and some really good food!!