My mother (who is an amazing cook) can always make ‘something out of nothing’ and I’m hoping that this recipe will always remind me of that.
Last week, when my mum came to stay, I was completely on the back foot. I hadn’t managed a big shop and the fridge was uncharacteristically empty. We found a few red and green (bell) peppers, two courgettes, a plum tomato, a stick of celery, a carrot and a cup of leftover peas. There was also a chunk of Parmesan cheese. The obvious solution would have been to make a pan of soup, but I fancied something a bit more substantial than that. “We”ll stuff the veg!” declared my mum, and after a quick whizz of my cupboards she found some vegetable stock, a tin of tomatoes and one of those two-minute pouches of rice. Yes, I have those in my cupboard.
Within minutes the kitchen was filled with the aroma of a bubbling ‘quick’ risotto and after a sprinkle of some sea salt and fresh pepper, the vegetables began baking in the oven.
The pre-cooked rice was really the key to the speediness in this recipe – you can shave off a good ten minutes. If you had some leftover risotto, it would be quicker, still and you could just use that to stuff the vegetables with instead. You can also buy a quicker cook ‘pronto’ version of risotto now in pouches, too, though I haven’t tried those. You can even make it with ‘easy cook rice’ – you’ll just need to simmer it a little longer. The rice should be ‘almost’ cooked before you stuff your vegetables with it.
Once you know how to stuff veggies (always pre-bake them for at least ten minutes before stuffing just to get them going a bit) you can make all kinds of fillings. You can even stuff them with a bolognese ragu like this one.
And look what you end up with – Risotto-Stuffed Vegetables – fit for a King or Queen.
We serve ours with some tiny cubed courgettes and a really good sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.
My mother might just be the cleverest cook in the world. She’s always an inspiration to me.
I hope you’re enjoying the (slightly blustery) autumnal weather! If you are not, make these instead, then stay inside and keep warm and happy.
Quick Risotto-Stuffed Veggies
- Olive oil
- Sea Salt and pepper
- 2-3 bell peppers
- 1 large (beef or plum) tomato
- 2 courgettes/zucchini
- 1 sweet onion, chopped
- 1 stick celery, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and chopped into cubes
- A cupful of frozen peas
- 1 packet quick-to-cook rice, or 250g leftover cooked rice
- 250ml/one cup vegetable stock
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
- To garnish - half a courgette and some Parmesan cheese
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- Preheat the oven 200C/180C fan/gas 6.
- Chop the tops off the peppers and scoop out any seeds. Do the same with the tomato. Cut one of the courgettes in half and using a teaspoon, scoop out the centre. Dice the second courgette for the garnish, keep to one side. Place the prepared veggies in a foil lined baking tin, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for ten minutes. Alongside those, spread the diced courgette onto a flat baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and bake for ten minutes, too.
- In the meantime, drizzle some olive oil into a frying pan. Fry the onions for three to four minutes, then add in the celery and carrot and cook for a further few minutes.Throw in the peas and the rice, pour in the stock and add the tinned tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for around five minutes. If you are not using pre-cooked rice, you''ll need to cover and simmer the rice until it is cooked - around ten minutes.
- Take the vegetables out of the oven and carefully fill the peppers, tomato and courgettes with the rice mixture. Put the stuffed vegetables back in the oven and bake for a further ten minutes.The vegetables should be soft, take them out and set to one side.
- Serve the baked, stuffed veggies with some of the courgette cubes and a grating of fresh Parmesan cheese.
Love you, Mama!
Ooh, if you wanted to stuff your veggies with a traditional risotto – follow my tips over on JamieOliver.com here.
Read all about my trip to Lombardy and Piedmont, with Riso Gallo, who produce one of Italy’s best brands of rice.
Amy B says
Wohoo I registered here just to thank you for this awesome recipe ! I’ve never had anything better!!! Thanks so much… I have done everything as its written (but I was cooking in multicooker called Redmond m4500 and when it was done it was on a heating mode for a little bit more, useful function) . I don’t know maybe I was too hungry or maybe its a Gods dish but it is absolutely delicious !
Elizabeth Jay says
What a good idea ! I always have left over peppers in the fridge along with a lone courgette as supermarkets tend to sell in packs of three! So next time I contemplate whether to throw away or use I will think again . Our mama is amazing . Hugs from big sister x
anna @ annamayeveryday says
Don’t those look delicious (I bet they were), I love risotto and I love stuffed vegetables..
Helen @ Fuss Free Flavours says
I do love a meal from almost nothing. I find it rather satisfying to put off going to the shops for another day and making do with what little bits and bobs that you have. Thanks for sharing with #ExtraVeg & #CreditCrunchMunch
Deena Kakaya says
The timing of this recipe is perfect for me! Your pretty and vegetarian friendly recipe will keep some of my fussy guests happy I am sure. I bet these peppers smell as gorgeously comforting as they are to eat x
Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.) says
Great recipe Ren! I am always stuffing vegetables – peppers, eggplant, squash (per my latest post!) – I find it’s a great way to use up leftover risotto or extra sauce or even extra veggies. And it looks so elegant!
Katie Bryson says
Where would we be without our mums eh Ren?! I realise this more and more each day since I became a mother myself!!!! I love the look of these risotto stuffed peppers – must try them out on the boys. I made our favourite baked risotto last week and had forgotten how much the boys love rice dishes.
Jeanne M Horak-Druiff says
Oh what a lovely recipe Ren! I love recipes that I can make with odds and ends lying around in the fridge – and this is a perfect example. I’m also a huge fan of stuffed peppers, although I always stuff mine with bolognese sauce… Leftover risotto is as unheard of in my house as leftover wine 😉
What a lucky thing you have such an inspiring mother and it must be lovely for you when she comes to stay! I adore stuffed veggies, my granny used to make the best and I am happy eating them hot as well as cold. Perfect use of what is lurking in your fridge and delicious too.
What a superb story and a lovely recipe too! My what different mothers we have – mine would have run away in terror at the notion of eating vegetables for dinner, ha! 🙂 Thank you for linking your lovely recipe up with the No Waste Food Challenge 🙂
What a wonderfully simple idea Ren. I love the little hands making light work of it!
Fiver Feeds says
Stuffed vegetable is always a good option 🙂 Usually I add some meat as well but your recipe also seems delicious!
Sally - My Custard Pie says
Often the most creative recipes come out of cooking with what you’ve got – although the combinations on ready, steady, cook are the exception perhaps! When I was in Libya there is a saying that ‘Libyans can make a meal out of nothing’ and it seemed to be true. My friend would prepare an amazing lunch out of a few things in the cupboard and we hardly ever went shopping for food.
I adore stuffed veg in all its variations. I dislike those rice pouches but KP loves them and keeps buying them so maybe I’ll put one to use in this way!
Camilla @FabFood4All says
Gorgeous recipe Ren! I don’t know why but I have never made stuffed peppers but I do love them so this reallly is something I have to put right! Mum’s are the best cooks as they’ve had far fewer ingredients to cook with than we have been spoiled with in recent years and can as you say make something out of nothing. Thank you for a fab entry to #CreditCrunchMunch:-)