Take advantage of summer’s vibrant organic produce with this easily adaptable dish (great for outdoor dining or potlucks). Sweet roasted red peppers are stuffed with nutty barley, sautéed vegetables, fresh herbs, pine nuts, balsamic and Parmigiano, then finished off with an oozing layer of melted Comté cheese (mozzarella would also do the trick). Serve the stuffed peppers as an appetizer or as a main course with a light to medium style red.
Serves: 2 as main course, 4 as appetizer
Prep time: 45 minutes (includes cooking barley and roasting peppers)
Cooking time: 15 minutes
- 1/2 cup pearled barley
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for brushing pan
- 2 red bell peppers
- 1/2 small yellow or sweet onion, diced
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper, seeds and ribs discarded, diced
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 very small or 1/2 medium zucchini, diced
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons mixed chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, rosemary and oregano
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano cheese
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup (heaping) shredded Comté cheese
- In a medium saucepan, combine 1/2 cup pearled barley with 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook 15-17 minutes, or until water is just absorbed. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Preheat the oven to 425˚F. Brush a small pan or casserole with oil. Cut the red peppers in half lengthwise (through the stem). Remove and discard the stems, seeds and ribs. Bake cut side down for 15 minutes; turn the peppers over and cook an additional 15 minutes. Set aside (keep the oven on).
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, yellow pepper, and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook 3 minutes. Add the garlic and pine nuts and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and cook 30 seconds. Scrape the mixture into the bowl with the barley. Add the chopped herbs, grated Parmigiano, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix in the egg.
- Sprinkle the pepper halves lightly with salt and pepper, then divide the barley filling among the halves. Do Ahead: The peppers can be stuffed one day in advance then covered and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before baking.
- Sprinkle the shredded Comté evenly over the top of the peppers and bake for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and lightly toasted in spots. Serve warm.