We have an abundance of beautiful peppers of all sorts at the farm stands and farmers markets right now, all types and all sizes, hot and sweet, large and small.
One of our family’s favorite peppers is the poblano. It carries just a little heat (although you never know, sometimes you can get one that happens to be pretty hot!), and they have a delightful pronounced pepper flavor. Shiny and beautifully dark green, they are also pretty to behold!
The late summer bounty
I’ve stuffed many a poblano with many a filling. This time around, I decided to use both summer squash and tomatoes, also in abundance right now, and for my starch a pasta that I am particularly fond of – fregola.
Fregola, also called Sardinian couscous, is a small, hand-made, semolina pasta that is nutty in flavor and more irregular in texture than Israel couscous, although about the same size. It has a lovely slightly chewy texture, and distinct flavor. I find mine at an Italian market, but if your hunter gathering is unsuccessful, use Israel couscous. Toast it in a dry pan until starting to brown and become fragrant. Precook only about half way according to your package directions.
Use whatever tomatoes you have
I had a medium heirloom tomato, so I tossed in some cherry tomatoes as well, it’s all good! If you have a really large beefsteak, that’s all you’ll need. You can also use Roma tomatoes. A nice layer of tomatoes will add moistures the dish and help the peppers to steam and finish cooking. In a pinch, you can use a small can of diced tomatoes.
Poblanos Stuffed with Fregola and Summer Vegetables
- ½ cup fregola
- 6 large poblano peppers
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 small onion, minced
- 1 medium summer squash, small dice
- 2 or 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp. sherry vinegar
- 2 tsp. dark amber maple syrup
- 1 large beefsteak tomato, or several Romas, chopped
- 2 oz. Cheddar cheese, optional
Cook the fregola in lightly salted, boiling water for about five minutes. Drain and set aside. It will finish cooking in the oven.
Make a slit in the poblanos from top to bottom. Place them in a hot oven, 400 degrees, for about 7 or 8 minutes, just so they start to soften a bit. Cool, then gently open at the slit and using a grapefruit spoon or melon baller, scrape out the seeds.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
In a large skillet over medium high heat, sauté the onion, summer squash, garlic, and smoked paprika and add salt and pepper to taste. Continue cooking just until the onions have softened. Add the fregola and mix everything together and cook for about a minute. Place in a bowl to cool slightly.
Add the sherry vinegar and maple syrup, then taste to correct any seasoning.
Gently stuff the peppers with the filling and place in a buttered casserole dish.
Top with the tomato chunks and give a last sprinkle of salt. Tuck any extra filling around the peppers. If you don’t have a covered casserole dish, cut a piece of parchment paper to fit over the vegetables and then wrap with foil. I don’t like foil touching my food to avoid any transfer of metallic flavor.
Bake for 35 minutes covered, then uncover and top with a little cheese, if using, and bake an additional 5 minutes or so, until melted.
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