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Italian Sausage-Stuffed Peppers with Cheeses and Orzo

Servings: 6

Ingredients:

4 cups water
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup orzo*
12 ounces fresh Italian sausage, either hot or mild
1 cup roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
1 cup (4 ounces) Wisconsin mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup (4 ounces) Wisconsin provolone cheese, shredded
6 large fresh whole red peppers, tops sliced off and seeded
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons homemade or purchased basil pesto

Cooking Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Bring water to a boil in a large, deep pot. Add the salt and orzo. Boil for 9 minutes. Drain in a wire sieve and rinse with cold water. Drain again. Set aside.

Remove the sausage from the casings, if necessary, and break up into small pieces. Sauté over medium high heat until browned and barely cooked through. Add the chopped red peppers. Remove from the heat and stir in the orzo and cheeses until the cheese melts. Cool.

Coat a 10 x 10-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Stuff the sausage-orzo mixture into the whole peppers and place the peppers upright in the pan. Mix the breadcrumbs and pesto, and spread evenly over the top of the stuffed peppers. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 15 minutes or until the surface is lightly browned.

Serve immediately.

*Orzo is a dried pasta, shaped like short-grain rice.

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