Rachael Ray Just Stuffed Peppers with the One Thing We Never Thought of—but Can't Wait to Try
Stuffed peppers are one of our favorite healthy dinners to make during the week. They're easily customizable, easy to make, elegant to serve and often feature a nice healthy mix of protein, carbs and fat. Plus, bell peppers are high in vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and more.
Through the years, we've developed fan favorites ranging from Cauliflower Rice-Stuffed Peppers and Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers to Chicken Parmesan and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers, Air-Fryer Turkey Stuffed Peppers and even Shrimp-and-Grits-Stuffed Peppers. But even though we've been there, stuffed that hundreds of times, we were still blown away by one of Rachael Ray's most recent creations.
An old ad inspired Ray to stuff peppers with pasta, and for her Bucatini-Stuffed Peppers, she used her husband John's favorite noodle as the key ingredient. Bucatini (AKA perciatelli) is a thick, spaghetti-like pasta cut that has a hole running from end to end to create its signature tube shape.
"For some reason I've never thought to stuff my peppers with pasta, always quinoa or rice," one fan commented on the clip from the Rachael Ray Show shared on Instagram. "This is a must try for me!"
For ample holiday vibes, she starts with a mix of red and green bell peppers.
"I scooped out all of the fibrous bits of the pepper, and all of the seeds of course, and I saved the tops," Ray explains.
She then spritzes them with nonstick spray and seasons all parts of the peppers with salt and black pepper. Then it's time to roast the peppers—unfilled—for about 20 minutes.
While those cook, she "melts" chopped anchovies in a large skillet in some EVOO. Once the oil is bubbling and the anchovies are beginning to brown, Ray adds spicy Calabrian chili paste (Ray prefers TUTTOCALABRIA Crushed Calabrian Chili Pepper Paste, $12.13 on Amazon), briny chopped olives and capers, sweet-tart tomato paste (sun-dried if you can find it—she used Amore Sun-Dried Tomato Paste; $8.79 on Amazon) and chopped garlic. To deglaze the pan, Ray opts for dry vermouth, an aromatic fortified white wine. After reducing this for a minute, she pulls the skillet off the heat.
It's time to remove the peppers from the oven and allow them to cool a bit, then here's where the key ingredient comes in: boil a big pot of water to a boil and dump in a pound of bucatini. She undercooks it by a couple minutes, saves some of the starchy pasta water, then strains the noodles and adds them to the anchovy-tomato mixture in the skillet. Top the bucatini with fresh oregano (parsley or mint would also work great, she advises), that reserved starchy water, plus some diced fresh mozzarella that "acts as glue for the stuffing of the peppers," according to Ray.
Mix it all together with tongs, then once all of the ingredients are evenly coating the pasta and this saucy bucatini has time to cool, she has a fabulous presentation tip. Twist the noodles in a circle around the ends of the tongs, closing them together enough to hold the pasta and slide it right inside the roasted peppers in a noodle tornado or sorts. Before roasting for a final 10 minutes, Ray tops each pasta-stuffed pepper with a bit more mozz. To serve, garnish with herbs and pair each stuffed pepper with its corresponding pepper top draped off to the side so the bucatini can "peek through," Ray says.