Italy Invades Mexico


I’ve told you all plenty of times about chiles rellenos, the spicy stuffed peppers that are probably my fav Mexican dish. I’ve shown you my attempts at both pork and cheese chiles rellenos, and as I mentioned in our cake discussion earlier this week, I went for another round this weekend (but figured you guys didn’t need to see Version 3.0). However, it got me thinking about ways I could mix this dish up, and hence a brand new and improved version.

When Alex and I went shopping for poblanos (the peppers used in CRs) the ones they had were pretty small and miserable. We bought a couple of those, but just to be safe also grabbed two frying peppers – frying peppers is what ACME supermarket in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania calls them, I think they were Anaheim peppers, although I could be wrong.

Hey look what I just found while searching for info on types of peppers: Anaheim peppers are the chiles most often used to make chiles rellenos. Haha, who knew? Well they turned out well, which makes sense if they really are the kind you are supposed to use. Kinda random how that worked out.

But it got me thinking, why not make chiles rellenos with other types of peppers? Roasted red bell peppers happen to be among my very favorite foods, so I had the idea to make an Italian-ized version of CRs using red bells and savory Italian cheeses and spices instead of the spicy Mexican ones usually used. I know there are already plenty of ways to make Italian stuffed peppers, but I’ve never seen it done with roasted reds. Forgive me if I’m taking credit for something that I didn’t actually discover.

Full r after the j.

Chiles Rellenos Italianos

– Cook the red bell peppers under the broiler for about 10 mins on each side, until they are charred all around. Place the peppers in a sealed ziplock bag and let them steam up for about 10 minutes.

– While this is happening, put together your cheese mix: a few spoonfuls of ricotta along with shredded mozzarella and parmesan, and a few chopped leaves of fresh basil. Add salt, pepper, and garlic. Sorry, no measurements – but I think you get it, enough to fill however many peppers you’ve got.

– Let the peppers cool and peel off the skins. Cut a thin, length-wise slice along the edge of each pepper. Scoop out the seeds. Unlike with poblanos, you don’t have to worry about the stems, since there is no heat in these ones.

– Fill each pepper with the cheesy mixture.

(Because I used richer cheeses in this recipe, I thought the traditional egg batter would be too much here. I thought about just doing an Italian breadcrumb thing – but roasted red peppers are so cool looking, I figured why not just leave them the way they are)

– Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan, and cook the peppers, about five minutes a side, on medium heat. Obv. not much has to actually cook here, it’s just about getting the cheese all warm and gooeylicious.

– Remove the peppers, scraping up the extra bits of cheese lining the pan and drizzle these over the top. (You will have stray bits of cheese, unless you’re a much neater cook than I, in which case, good for you, except that you won’t have any bonus cheese bits.)

– Serve over pasta with a light coating of tomato sauce. Aside: My Italian brother-in-law recently scolded me regarding our cheating page, specifically the categorization that store-bought marinara sauce will not get you ‘kicked off the blog’. Apparently, in certain households this is about as sinful as it gets. So I tried my luck at making my own (campari tomatoes, red peppers, onion, garlic, fresh basil, extra virgin, and red wine, basically). I went a little heavy-handed with the red wine, which was no problem taste-wise for me, but as you can see it’s a lil more brownish-purple, as opposed to red, which of course is what I was going for. Any tips would be appreciated.

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One comment

  • gansie April 11, 2008  

    love the italian version. no hidden pepperoni in yours, BS?

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