Stuffed Banana Peppers

I plant all sorts of peppers in my garden every Spring and they seem to all ripen at once.

Most of my hot peppers are dried and ground into special mixtures that I give as gifts during the holidays.

I love using the banana peppers in a large casserole that makes a great appetizer for a party, or served as a main course.

Stuffed banana peppers

6-8 banana peppers, washed, seeded & cut in half longways

Parmesan cheese, grated for topping the casserole

Salt & ground black pepper, to your taste

1 1/2 pounds of hot or sweet sausage ( depending on your heat tolerance)

1 egg

One cup of breadcrumbs if fresh , soaked in milk , then squeezed to drain the milk OR use 3/4 cup of dry breadcrumbs.

1/2 cup of ketchup

4 minced garlic cloves

One large can of crushed tomatoes , I use Cento brand

One can of Cento pizza sauce, or your favorite brand.

One small white onion, minced

Herbs; oregano, parsley, basil, thyme, salt and pepper, all to your taste, I use fresh herbs in this recipe.

Sauté the onion and garlic in a few tablespoons of olive oil until just turning soft. Add all tomatoes and herbs. Set aside.

In a bowl, ground sausage, egg, breadcrumbs & ketchup, mix thoroughly.

In a big baking pan, put half of the tomato sauce, then a layer of the peppers, proceed to stuff the peppers with sausage ( do not pack) any leftover sausage just make small meatballs and put into the sauce. Cover with the rest of the sauce and top with grated parmesan cheese, you can certainly add any provolone, mozzarella, or even Monterey Jack cheese.

Bake @ 375 degrees 40 minutes or until peppers are soft and the stuffing is cooked through.

I like to serve with French bread cut on a diagonal, toasted in the oven, rub with a garlic clove & sprinkle with olive oil & sea salt.

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