Now that we've caught up on our travelogue postings, it's time to return to normalcy and actually document a few things that I've been cooking in the Commissary over the past month. Sometime in early September, a nice batch of yellow banana peppers arrived in the weekly farmbox - immediately, my mind went back to an appetizer that is offered off-menu at one of my dad's favorite local Italian trattorias (Rocco's): stuffed banana peppers. The peppers at Rocco's are filled with a ricotta mixture and baked w/cheese and red sauce on top. Although I didn't find the exact recipe on-line, I did locate a similar one that uses a sausage stuffing instead.
Being wary of hot peppers since my recent unpleasantness w/jalapenos a few months ago, I gingerly removed the seeds and membranes from the banana peppers - it turns out that they're pretty benign to work with (no tingling fingers this time). The recipe calls for 2 pounds of sausage, one hot and one mild. Given our delicate palates in the Hackknife household, I opted to sub out the hot sausage with a roll of plain breakfast sausage instead. After mixing up the filling and stuffing the peppers (the recipes tells you to use a pastry bag or sausage stuffer, but I found that hand-rolling the filling to fit the pepper shape like I did with my jalapenos worked pretty well), I realized that I had WAY too much sausage (like a single pound would have done the trick). Rather than toss the excess, I rolled up a bunch of sausage meatballs and threw them in the baking dish along with the peppers. After an hour of bake time, out came a nicely-scented, good-looking Amer-Italian supper. The peppers were tender and only a tiny bit spicy, while the sauce (a mixture of canned crushed tomatoes, can tomato sauce, onion, celery, garlic, basil, and oregano) was pretty tasty. Here's the recipe if you're interested: Stuffed Banana Peppers