Once I tried puttanesca sauce, there was no going back. It is easily my favorite pasta sauce on the planet. All the more reason to find ways to eat it aside from the classic pasta dish. Hence, these white bean and artichoke puttanesca stuffed bell peppers in all their glory.
The sauce is easy to make, and you might already have the necessary ingredients on hand! I’m talking canned whole peeled tomatoes, anchovies, olives, capers, lots of garlic, a touch of oregano and crushed red pepper flake, and olive oil. I also added onion for flavor. Everything is simmer together for a half an hour or so before adding the white beans and artichokes.
White beans (I used cannellini) are so great here because not only do they provide tons of veggie-based protein and fiber, but they soak up some of the sauce juices. When I eat stuffed peppers, I do not want them forming a puddle as soon as you cut into it. By adding the beans and then letting the stuffing sit in the fridge over night, you can avoid almost all of the wet mess, which means more flavor for ya mouth! An overnight chill also allows the flavors to marry. While you could go ahead and stuff away, I highly recommend waiting until the following day for these reasons, if possible.
The other thing about stuffed peppers is you need to par cook the peppers in order to have a tender final product. Another way is cooking them low and slow at 325 degrees for an hour. With either method, the filling will not dry out because these are so naturally saucy. I have included instructions for both.
Adding some cheese on top is the finishing touch of many a great stuffed pepper. I used an Italian blend. When cheese starts browning it is basically one of my fav things on Earth, so I added cheese in the last 5-10 minutes of cooking and then let em’ cook until the cheese was starting to brown. Some parsley adds a nice finishing touch.
I am psyched to report these keep really well! In the fridge, they will keep for 3-4 days. To reheat, place in a covered pan (or cover tightly with foil) and cook in the oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until warmed to your liking. Amazingly, the cheese stays as melty and cheese-pull-y as when they were originally made! So you can meal prep these bad boys with no worries about a loss of flavor/texture. Freezing presents a bit more of challenge in that the water content will increase from both the filling and pepper, but the cheesiness stays largely unchanged as long as you cook them covered. While the texture changes a bit overall, they can still be frozen with good results.
White Bean and Artichoke Puttanesca Stuffed Peppers
Servings: makes about 6 cups of filling; enough for 4-5 large bell peppers
Time: about 1 hour to make sauce and 1 hour to cook (see notes)
- 1 28-ounce can of peeled whole tomatoes
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 6 garlic cloves, minced or grated
- 1 tbsp. of anchovies in oil
- 1/4 cup of capers
- 1/2 cup of olives, chopped (I used a greek olive mix with black, kalamata, and green olives)
- 1 can of whole artichoke hearts (not the marinated kind; about 6 artichoke hearts)
- 2 cans of cannellini beans
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1.5 tbsp. butter
- 1 tsp. oregano, dried
- 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/3 tsp. black pepper
- 4-5 large bell peppers, sliced in half and seeds removed
- 5 ounces of cheese (I used an Italian blend)
- Melt butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat.
- Add diced onion and cook until golden.
- Add garlic and cook one minute.
- Add all other ingredients except the beans, artichoke hearts, bell peppers, and cheese.
- Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
- Allow to simmer for a half an hour or so to allow the ‘canned’ taste to cook off, the flavors to meld, and the anchovies to break down.
- Stir every so often to prevent sticking. While stirring, continually crush the tomatoes to break them into bite sized chunks.
- Add the white beans and artichoke hearts. Allow to simmer another 10 minutes, then remove from heat and let sit overnight in the fridge, if possible (see reasoning above).
- When ready to eat, preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Stuff bell peppers with filling, place on a baking dish or sheet pan, and put into the oven.
- Cook for 50 minutes.
- Remove peppers from oven, top with cheese, and return to oven for 5-10 minutes or until cheese is browned.
- Optionally, top with parsley.
- You can also prebake the bell peppers, cut side down, for 15 minutes on 425. When cool enough to handle, stuff them and bake at 425 another 15 minutes. Top with cheese and bake until cheese is browned or melted to desired texture.
- This puttanesca sauce is so tasty! If you like, you can stop at step 7 and you will have a bad a** sauce ready for use in a variety of dishes.
- If you have leftover filling, I highly suggest cooking it shakshuka style by adding a bit of water and cracking some eggs in it. Serve with toast to sop up all the love.