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by on May 18th, 2012

Cheese Stuffed Baby Bells

Colorful appetizer for your summer parties.

Some how I forgot to take a picture of these little peppers after they were plated.

With Memorial Day just around the corner, here’s a new recipe for your grill and appetizer files.

I just love these little baby bell peppers.  I have always loved stuffed bell peppers like my mother use to make with ground beef, onion, rice, some tomato sauce and seasoning. One of these days I’m going to try and make these mini peppers with a meat and cheese filling, maybe just add some ground cooked meat to the below recipe for a start.

There’s just something about cute little vegetables that are so appealing to me. I think for one thing, they have a sweeter taste. And, other mini vegetables like long baby carrots, baby zucchini, patty pan squash and the little fingerling potatoes and of course the cipolini onions just make a plate of food move up a couple of notches on the appealing factor.

What great ingredients.

Render all the fat from the pancetta and then fry until crisp and chop finely.

Saute the onions until they are translucent.

Mix all the cheese together, add on the onion and bacon.

As you can see, I put my cookie cooling rack on top of my gas burner to keep the peppers from fall through the grill top.

These turned out beautiful and would be delicious even without the filling. When they cooled I removed the ends and the seeds. The red ones were a little small so I just cut them open on the side.

On my first batch I was afraid that the cheese would bake out so I put a slice of olive in the end. The cheese oozed a little but not that much. Leave the olive off if you don’t like them.

Cheese Stuffed Baby Bells

4 slices pancetta, chopped (or use 6-8 slices bacon
1 onion, chopped
2 c. ricotta cheese
1/2 c. parmesan cheese
2 c. feta cheese
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
salt and pepper to taste
handful of parsley, chopped
24 sweet baby bell peppers (orange, yellow and red)

Preheat oven to 350°.

Put the baby bells on your stove top if you have a gas stove and grill a little until you have grill marks. I used a cookie cooling rack over the burner so my peppers would not fall through. Remove the peppers when you have grilled a little and let cool. When cool, cut off the end and remove seeds. I left the blackened part on the pepper and did not remove.

Fry the pancetta or the bacon until crisp. Cool and then chop very fine. In the fat that was left in the pan, add the chopped onion and sauté until translucent. Add the chopped garlic the last couple of minutes. Set aside.

Mix the cheese, parsley, salt and pepper, the cooked onion and pancetta and mix until well blended. Using  small spoon or a pastry bag fitted with a very large opening, pipe/fill the peppers. I added a slice of black olive to the end to try and keep the cheese from oozing out as they baked.

Bake for about 12-15 minutes. Serve warm or room temperature.

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