Stuffed Romano peppers with ricotta and mascarpone

Ingredients

  • 6 Romano peppers (650g)
  • 200g ricotta
  • 100g mascarpone or cream cheese
  • 40g pine nuts, lightly toasted  
  • 10g fresh oregano leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest, plus 1 tsp juice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil  
  • 1 tsp best-quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1 small green chilli, cut into paper-thin slices
  • Salt and black pepper
Stuffed Romano peppers with ricotta and mascarpone

Serves six, as a starter or part of a mezze platter, along with good bread.

Use the best quality ricotta you can find for this.

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. 
  2. Use a little knife to make a small vertical incision – about 6 centimeters long – from the top towards the end of each pepper. You will use this incision to scoop out the seeds later. Arrange the pepper on a roasting tray and place in the oven for 30 minutes, until soft. Remove and set aside to cool before using a small spoon to carefully extract and discard the seeds. The aim is to leave the stem on the peppers when they are stuffed so take your time here: it’s a fiddly job. Peel the skin off the peppers – again, don’t rush here – and set aside on a kitchen paper-lined plate to dry. 
  3. To make the filling place the cheeses, nuts, oregano, lemon zest, lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a large bowl. Add half a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper and whisk well. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture into each pepper and press evenly inside. Don’t worry if the incision increases in the process: you can use your hands to seal the pepper. 
  4. Wipe the peppers clean and place them on individual serving plates. Drizzle 2 teaspoons of olive oil around each pepper and then dot the oil with a few drops of the balsamic. Sprinkle over a few slices of the green chilli and serve.