This dish is simple to prepare, uses a variety of colorful, wholesome foods and some of my favorite flavors: basil and my Vervana California Cold-Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil. This is the perfect recipe for whipping up a hearty and easy dinner for two, for your whole family, or even for yourself to enjoy over the course of several meals.
Risotto-Stuffed Peppers in Basil Sauce
*Note: Use organic, non-GMO ingredients wherever possible*
- 1 cup vegetable broth or low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- ¾ cup primavera or mushroom risotto
- 1 cup canned garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
- ¼ cup golden raisins
- 1 packed cup chopped baby spinach leaves
- ½ cup (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
- ¼ cup regular virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup Vervana California Cold-pressed Extra-Virgin Olive Oil for drizzling
- A dash of Vervana’s Pepper & Juniper Berry Blend
- A dash of Vervana’s Salt Blend (Himalayan salt, Austrian salt and French sels gris)
- 2 medium red bell peppers
- 1 medium yellow bell pepper
- 1 medium orange bell pepper
- ¼ cup white wine
- Hot water, as needed
- 1 packed cup fresh basil leaves
- ½ cup (4 oz) creme fraiche
- 3 tablespoons Vervana California Cold-Pressed Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon honey
- ¼ teaspoon salt, plus extra, as needed
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra, as needed
- ¼ teaspoon Vervana Olive Oil Seasoning Blend
Making the Peppers and Filling
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. First, make the filling, bringing the chicken broth and cumin to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat so the broth continues to steam, but not simmer.
In a separate pan, toast the risotto with a dash of the virgin olive oil over low heat. Stir in ½ cup of the hot broth, add a splash of white wine. Continue to stir and cook, adding the broth in ½-cup increments until all the liquid has been absorbed. If you leave out the wine, use additional broth instead. The risotto is done when the texture is tender and creamy.
Place the risotto in a large bowl, and add the beans, raisins, spinach, feta and ¼ cup virgin olive oil. Season with the Salt Blend, and Pepper and Juniper blend, to taste. Stir until combined.
Slice the tops off the peppers (or slice vertically and stuff each half to serve open-faced). Remove ribs and seeds inside. Add filling into the peppers, arrange peppers in 8×8” baking dish, and add approx. ¾” hot water to the bottom of the pan.
Bake peppers until filling is golden and peppers are cooked all the way through (55 to 60 minutes). If peppers are browning too quickly, cover with tin foil and continue baking.
Preparing the Sauce
Put basil, creme fraiche, olive oil, water, garlic, lemon juice, sugar, seasoning blend, salt blend, and pepper & juniper blend into blender and mix until smooth. Adjust the seasoning with more olive oil seasoning blend, salt and pepper, to taste.
Serving the Masterpiece
Remove from oven, arrange on individual serving plates. I use a spoon to drizzle a bit of the Vervana Extra Virgin Olive Oil on top, followed by a generous dollop of the sauce on and around the pepper. For a bit of added presentation, sprinkle freshly chopped basil over the top of the pepper and plate, and serve.
Note: While EVOO is perfect for this recipe, it’s not for all types of cooking; its low smoke point means high temperatures deplete the oil’s nutrients. To learn more about oils and cooking, read:
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