Neapolitan Stuffed Peppers

Inexpensive and easy-to-make, Neapolitan Stuffed Peppers make a filling main course. Serve with pasta, a mixed salad and lots of Chianti wine.

2 fl. oz. plus

1 teaspoon olive oil

4 large green peppers

1 oz» butter

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

4 medium-sized tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded and finely chopped

8 large black olives, stoned and finely chopped

4 anchovy fillets, chopped

4 oz. mushrooms, wiped clean and chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil, or

1 ½ teaspoons dried basil

2 oz. fresh breadcrumbs

2 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to fairly hot 375°F (Gas Mark 5, 190°C).

With the teaspoon of olive oil, lightly grease a medium-sized baking dish and set it aside.

With a sharp knife, slice off and reserve 1-inch from the wider end of each pepper. Carefully remove and discard the white pith and seeds from the inside of each pepper. Set the peppers aside.

In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter with the remaining oil over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent but not brown. Add the tomatoes, olives, anchovies, mushrooms, salt, pepper and basil and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the breadcrumbs.

Spoon equal amounts of the stuffing mixture into each pepper and replace the reserved tops. Stand the peppers upright in the baking dish and place the dish in the centre of the oven. Bake for 45 minutes.

Remove the dish from the oven. Remove the tops and keep warm. Sprinkle each pepper with equal amounts of the grated cheese and return them to the oven. Continue to bake for a further 5 to 10 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and the peppers are cooked.

Remove the peppers from the oven and replace the tops. Transfer to a warmed serving dish and serve immediately.