Classic stuffed Italian peppers are so comforting and delicious. There are so many ways to stuff peppers. I think you will love the simple flavors in this version with an easy Italian sausage, beef, and rice stuffing. This recipe is hearty and filling, making it a full meal.
I just love peppers. We grow a bunch of varieties during the summer months.
The large size of bell peppers makes them the perfect veggie to stuff. One or two beef and sausage stuffed peppers are often plenty for me.
What makes Italian stuffed peppers so good...
It's the beef and Italian sausage combination, along with a garlicky tomato sauce and flavorful beef stock.
This recipe is for the stuffed peppers only so make sure to have some good sauce on hand as well as some quality beef broth. They are both mixed into the stuffing to keep it super moist during the baking process.
How to make sausage stuffed peppers
- Get some nice bell peppers. Using a variety of colors yields a great presentation.
- Picture of the parsley, mozzarella, Parmigiano Reggiano, and garlic.
- Chop the garlic and the parsley.
- Saute the garlic on medium heat in 2 tablespoons of olive oil for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the beef and ground sausage and saute until cooked through. Break up any large pieces with a wooden spoon.
- While the meat is sauteing grate the mozzarella.
- Grate the parmigiano reggiano.
- The meat should take about 15 minutes. Turn off heat and drain all but about a ¼ cup of fat from the pan.
- Add the Parmigiano and rice to the pan.
- Add the 1 cup of sauce, 1 cup of beef broth, parsley, oregano, 1 tsp of kosher salt, and pepper to taste. If you want crushed red pepper, add it now.
- Mix the stuffing thoroughly. It will be really wet, which will help the peppers stay moist during the baking process. Taste test and adjust salt and pepper before stuffing the peppers.
- Cut the tops off the peppers and remove seeds and core. Season the inside of the peppers with salt and pepper then stuff. The peppers can be cut in half lengthwise for stuffing as well. Either way works great!
- Place 3 cups of tomato sauce and 1 cup of water in a baking dish. Stuff the peppers and place in the baking dish. Top each pepper with the mozzarella. Drizzle some olive oil on top of each pepper and bake the peppers covered with foil for 1 hour at 350.
- After 1 hour test peppers for doneness. Depending on their size, they could take up to 30 minutes longer. They should be really tender and soft - close to falling apart. Broil for 2 minutes, if desired, to get them crisp on top. Spoon the pan sauce over the peppers and serve. A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on each pepper wouldn't hurt either. Serve with extra grated cheese and a loaf of Italian bread to mop up the pan sauce.
Stuffed peppers with beef and sausage are pretty easy to make. Essentially, it's making a flavorful filling, stuffing them, then baking and waiting. Make sure to take the time to let them really cook through. I love them when they are close to that fall apart stage!
What to serve with stuffed peppers
- Italian Chopped Salad
- Escarole and Beans
- Garlic Sauteed Italian Broccoli
- Tomato Mozzarella Salad With Easy Vinaigrette
How to soften the peppers to speed up cooking
The peppers can be boiled for 3-5 minutes to speed up the cooking time considerably. If time is really constrained, make the pepper stuffing and boil the cut and cleaned peppers at the same time. Boiling them can save about 30 minutes.
Stuffed peppers are bland
One very important step is to season the peppers with salt and pepper before stuffing. The salt will penetrate the interior walls of the pepper and create a much more flavorful stuffed pepper.
Rice can be substituted with quinoa, barley, or faro. If you want to do all sausage go for it, I have done it that way with great success. Omit or add some more herbs like basil or thyme if desired. This classic Italian stuffed pepper recipe is a great starting point, but feel free to make changes.
More Italian-style pepper recipes
- Stuffed cubanelle peppers - Similar stuffing but made with Italian frying or cubanelle peppers.
- Pepper and egg sandwich - So simple, yet so satisfying.
- Ciambotta - Summer vegetable stew of peppers, zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, carrots, and potatoes.
- Spicy pepper bucatini - Bell peppers, long hots, and cubanelle peppers make a spicy satisfying sauce.
- Sausage and peppers - Classic recipe with just peppers, onions, oregano, and lots of olive oil.
- Calabrian potatoes and peppers - Long hot peppers, onions, and potatoes in a spicy side dish that is full of flavor!
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- 6 large bell peppers tops cut off and seeds removed
- ½ cup mozzarella grated
- 1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano grated
- ¾ pound ground beef
- ¾ pound ground Italian sausage
- 2 cups cooked white rice
- 10 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup low sodium beef stock
- 4 cups tomato sauce see notes below
- 1 cup water
- ¼ cup parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350f and set rack to middle. Grate both cheeses. Mince garlic cloves and chop parsley. Saute garlic on medium heat in a large pan with 2 Tbsp olive oil.
- After 1 minute add the beef and sausage. Break apart any large pieces with a wooden spoon and saute for 10-15 minutes. Turn off heat and drain all but ¼ cup of the meat fat.
- Add the Parmigiano Reggiano, cooked rice, 1 cup tomato sauce, 1 cup beef broth, parsley, oregano, 1 tsp kosher salt, ½ tsp black pepper, and ¼ cup crushed red pepper to pan. Mix thoroughly and taste stuffing now and adjust with more salt or pepper if necessary.
- While the stuffing is cooling, cut tops off peppers and remove seeds and core. Season the interior of the peppers with remaining 1 tsp of kosher salt and some black pepper.
- Place 3 cups sauce and 1 cup of water into baking dish. Stuff the peppers and place into dish. The sauce should come up about 1-2 inches on sides of peppers. Sprinkle the mozzarella on top of each pepper and drizzle each with olive oil. Bake the peppers lightly covered with foil for 1 hour.
- After 1 hour check doneness. They should be very soft, but not quite falling apart. If they are still firm bake for 15-30 minutes longer. During the last 2 minutes remove foil and broil if desired for a nice charred top. Spoon the pan sauce on the peppers and serve with grated parmigiano reggiano and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Enjoy!
- Use this 15-minute marinara sauce or your own
- Baking covered with foil helps keep the peppers moist.
- This recipe will most likely have extra stuffing.
- Salting the interior of the peppers is very important.
- Taste test the stuffing and adjust the seasoning before filling the peppers.
- Leftovers can be saved for up to 3 days and reheated in the microwave.
- Stuffed peppers can be frozen for up to 3 months.