Don’t be deceived; the fish was not the star of this meal. It was just something I bought at Harris Teeter to try some meat on my grill. It was a fine thing to set beside this Red Pepper Stuffed with Saffron Rice and Pine Nuts.
This dish tastes as fancy as the ingredients it’s named after. None of these pricey ingredients are wasted in the dish though; each serves a unique purpose. The basil is bright and a bit spicy, the pine nuts offer an earthy flavor and texture, the saffron brings all the flavors together, and the cheese literally holds it all together. The stuffed pepper makes a great presentation, but, if it seems like too much fuss, you can dice the peppers, saute them with the onions, and bake it all together in a glass dish.
Red Peppers Stuffed with Saffron Rice and Pine Nuts
2 red bell peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 Tb olive oil
6 green onions, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/8 tsp crushed saffron threads
1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
1 3/4 cups water
2 cups shredded provolone
1/3 cups pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 Tb chopped fresh basil
Steam the red peppers until tender, about 8-10 minutes.
Heat oil in a sauce pan and saute onions, garlic, and saffron until softened. Add rice. Add water and bring to a boil. Stir, reduce heat, cover, and cook 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes, covered. Fluff and dump in a bowl to cool slightly.
Add cheese, pine nuts, parsley, and basil to rice. Season with salt and pepper. Stuff into pepper halves and place in a baking dish with tall sides. Cover the bottom of the dish with water. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 until heated through, about 35 minutes.