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09.11.2021

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Red peppers roasted to juicy, sweet perfection and stuffed with a delicious and easy orzotto with mushrooms, pumpkin and harissa chickpeas for a spicy kick. All topped with a crunchy breadcrumb and pine nut topping to add an extra layer of flavour and a variety of textures.

Roasted Red Peppers Stuffed with Mushroom, Pumpkin and Harissa Chickpea Orzotto www.thefoodiecorner.gr Photo description: A wooden chopping board with recipe ingredients on it, namely mushrooms, pumpkin, red peppers and orzo in a measuring cup. To the top of the image is a bowl of chickpeas and another halved red pepper. To the bottom is a head of garlic and an onion.

So here I am, writing this post in London! I finally made it over after many obstacles and delays. If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen my stories during the four day road trip (yes, I drove here from Athens) or you can find them in the highlights under The Move. Anyway, I won’t go into detail right now as I don’t want to make this a very long post, but rest assured nothing will change here on The Foodie Corner, at least for now. My recipes will continue in both languages and I will try my best to create dishes with ingredients easily accessible to all, regardless of how limited or not their country’s markets are.

Roasted Red Peppers Stuffed with Mushroom, Pumpkin and Harissa Chickpea Orzotto www.thefoodiecorner.gr Photo description: a baking tray lined with grease proof paper and filled with red pepper halves.

Let’s talk about this dish. It might seem complicated but it’s actually not. It’s not the quickest dinner ever prepared, but it’s not the most time consuming or effortful either. The main player here is the orzotto, something I love making as it’s easy and so flexible you can use almost anything in it. Here I chose autumnal flavours such as mushrooms and pumpkin (you can use butternut squash of course), but I also added chickpeas to make it even more substantial as a meal.

The chickpeas are coated in harissa (a spicy red pepper paste originating from North Africa, namely Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria) which gives the orzotto a delicious spicy (but not overpoweringly hot) kick and balances out the sweetness from the squash and bell peppers.

Roasted Red Peppers Stuffed with Mushroom, Pumpkin and Harissa Chickpea Orzotto www.thefoodiecorner.gr Photo description: A frying pan full of mushroom, pumpkin and harissa chickpea orzotto. Above the the pan is a baking tray with roasted red pepper halves.

The bell peppers in this recipe play a double role. First is of course flavour, as they are full of juicy sweetness after spending time in the oven. The second is looks. They make for very cute vessels for the orzotto don’t they? Sometimes you want some cuteness in your dinner! Cut them lengthways, keep the stalks for quirkiness and roast until softened and sweet.

Roasted Red Peppers Stuffed with Mushroom, Pumpkin and Harissa Chickpea Orzotto www.thefoodiecorner.gr Photo description: A baking tray lined with grease proof paper and filled with red pepper halves stuffed with orzotto. Above the tray is a bowl with breadcrumb and pine nut topping.

Then stuff with the delicious orzotto and sprinkle with a tasty mixture of breadcrumbs and pine nuts, a topping that adds a new texture and an extra complexity to the overall flavours. If you want you can pop the peppers under the grill to warm through (if the orzotto has gone a bit cold) and that way the topping will get toasted. Otherwise toast the mixture in a pan and just serve the peppers sprinkling it on top.

Roasted Red Peppers Stuffed with Mushroom, Pumpkin and Harissa Chickpea Orzotto www.thefoodiecorner.gr Photo description: A platter full of roasted red pepper halves stuffed with orzotto, on a white linen tablecloth. To the left of the image a small bowl with breadcrumb and pine nut topping. To the right, half visible, a stack of plates with some cutlery and two small glasses.

These orzotto stuffed peppers are impressive and ideal to serve at a dinner party alongside other dishes, but they are also great as a main course for an everyday or Sunday dinner. They also make great leftovers for lunch, at home or at work. I hope you try them and send me some pics! If you want you can tag me on Instagram (@thefoodiecorner and #thefoodiecorner) so I can share on stories!

Roasted Red Peppers Stuffed with Mushroom, Pumpkin and Harissa Chickpea Orzotto www.thefoodiecorner.gr Photo description: Laid out on a linen tablecloth are a platter with orzotto-stuffed red peppers, two small glasses, a plate with a couple of stuffed peppers and a fork on it, and (barely visible) a small bowl with breadcrumb and pine nut topping.

Ingredients

6 red bell peppers, sliced in half lengthways, seeds removed

3 Tbs olive oil, divided

60 gr onion, finely chopped

1 large garlic clove, pressed

1 Tbs harissa paste

1 tsp sweet paprika

1 tsp salt

120 gr chickpeas, cooked (home cooked or store bought)

200 gr pumpkin or butternut squash, diced small

200 gr brown mushrooms, diced small

2-3 Tbs water (if necessary)

250 gr orzo pasta

120 ml white wine

500 ml vegetable stock, hot

250 ml water, hot

For the breadcrumb topping

3 Tbs pine nuts

50 gr breadcrumbs (just pop some stale bread in a food processor)

3 Tbs nutritional yeast

1/4 tsp salt

Step 1

Arrange the pepper halves on a baking tray lined with grease proof paper. Brush them with one tablespoon of olive oil. Roast in a preheated oven at 200C conventional (180C fan assisted) for 25 minutes or until softened but still holding their shape.

Step 2

In the meantime make the orzotto. In a large frying pan heat the two tablespoons of olive oil over high heat. When hot turn the heat to medium/high and add the onion. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until it starts to brown. Add the garlic, harissa, sweet paprika, salt and chickpeas and stir well for another minute.

Step 3

Add the pumpkin and mushrooms to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes stirring often. The veg will decrease in volume and release some juices. (If they don’t and they start catching, add between one and three tablespoons of water)

Step 4

Add the orzo and stir until coated in the pan juices. After about 2 minutes, when the pan is fairly dry, add the wine, continue stirring and when it’s absorbed pour in the stock and water. When it bubbles turn the heat to medium/low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the orzo is cooked through, stirring every so often. The orzotto should absorb most liquid but still remain juicy and sloppy.

Step 5

While you wait for the orzotto, put the pine nuts in a cold non-stick frying pan over high heat. Don’t move away, watch it continuously and as soon as it stars smelling delicious and the seeds start to colour transfer them to a small bowl. Take care as they burn easily. Add the bredcrumbs, yeast and salt to the bowl and toss well. Preheat the grill.

Step 6

Fill the pepper halves with orzotto (it’s ok if it’s heaped) while they are on the baking tray, and sprinkle with the bread mixture. Grill on the middle rack until the bread is toasted and is starting to brown, about 3-5 minutes. (See notes for alternative last step)

Notes:
To avoid grilling at the end, you can just toast the breadcrumb mixture in the same pan you toasted the pine nuts. Just heat over high and stir continuously until golden. Stuff the peppers, sprinkle on top and enjoy.

The orzotto is delicious on its own too. If you don’t have time you can just make it without the peppers. Personally I wouldn’t skip the breadcrumb mixture though!

The Greek version of this recipe is sponsored. All opinions are my own.

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Eha
    10/11/2021

    This appeals to both my eyes and my imaginary taste buds . . . love orzo pasta but do not make enough use of it ! Dinner parties may not quite be de rigeur as yet but, living alone, the little extra loving effort will lead to more than one meal with a smile !!! . . . as for life changes – the best of luck and as few problems as life will allow . . .

    • Reply
      27/11/2021

      So sorry it took so long to reply to this! Orzo is a great ingredient to work with, and orzottos are so versatile! Thank you so much for your wishes, hope all is well with you too <3