Grandpa Joe's Stuffed Bell Peppers

In this recipe I am getting in touch with my Italian roots! My wonderful, and deeply missed, grandpa Joe is one of my biggest inspirations in the kitchen. He often made his famous stuffed bell peppers for the whole family to enjoy. But he was just like me and would never measure the ingredients! He would cook with his heart. So after asking him a million times how to make this and some improvisation of my own - I finally figured it out. I am so proud to be sharing this delicious and very nostalgic comfort food that has been passed on to me by a very special man.

8 bell peppers - cut off the tops and dig out the inner parts (I like to use a variation of colors). Put them in ramekins to help keep them steady. Brush a light layer of garlic infused olive oil on the outside. I do this because it adds more flavor, but it also softens the pepper and makes it easier to eat!

Italian sausage filling:
1 pound ground beef
2 tsp salt
1.5 tsp black pepper
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 cup red wine, I use a Merlot
1 tsp fennel
Mix it all up and fry it in a pan with olive oil. 

5 cut up crimini mushrooms 
1 chopped red onion
4 minced fresh garlic cloves (I like to mince my own because it makes a world of difference in flavor)

Only cook the meat half way, then add the mushrooms, red onion and garlic. Let it simmer until it softens a bit. 

Tomato sauce:
1/2 cup red wine
Big can of tomato sauce
Small can of petite diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp oregano
2 tsp sugar
Simmer on the stove for just a few minutes.

Layering your peppers:
Tomato sauce
Shredded Mozzarella cheese
Italian sausage filling
Repeat until you almost reach the top of the pepper!
End with a layer of cheese.

Put the ramekins with your stuffed bell peppers on the BBQ or in the oven on 375 F for 40-45 minutes. Let them cool off a bit. Now DIG IN!