Sweet Italian Frying Peppers are stuffed with Italian sausage, spinach, breadcrumbs and Parmesan. An absolutely addicting recipe for using Italian peppers.
What Are Italian Frying Peppers?
Italian sweet frying peppers are a type of pepper that are also referred to as cubanelles or sweet long Italian peppers. They’re called “sweet” because unlike many unripe peppers that are bitter in flavor, the Italian frying pepper is sweet at every stage. They are a medium fleshed pepper, making them ideal for frying.
Whenever Italian sweet peppers are available at our Farmer’s market I don’t hesitate to grab a few to make this Italian stuffed peppers recipe.
I love these peppers. Offering a sweet yet intense “pepper” flavor, something about them screams “It’s Amore”.
Stuffed with a savory combination of Italian sausage, fresh spinach and parmesan cheese come together for this delightful version. One bite of these delicious Italian Stuffed Peppers and you’ll feel like you’re in Italy.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Italian Frying Peppers: Can also be labeled as Cubanelle peppers.
- Italian Sausage: Hot or sweet, your preference.
- Fresh Spinach
- Tomato Sauce
- Chicken Broth
- Egg and Bread Crumbs: For binding
- Tomato Paste
- Red Onion
- Fresh Mozzarella Cheese: I like to buy the packages of little balls of mozzarella.
Step by Step Instructions
- Step 1: Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the spinach and drizzle with 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil. Cook the spinach over medium high heat just until wilted, about 1 minute.
- Step 2: In a large bowl combine the chopped bread with the milk, egg and cheese and stir until well combined.
- Step 3: Add the onion, sausage, spinach and tomato paste. Using hands, gently knead the mixture until well combined. Let this stand in the refrigerator 30 minutes.
- Step 4: Using a fork, gently pack the sausage mixture into the pepper halves. Press chunks of fresh mozzarella here and there into the sausage mixture.
- Step 5: In the skillet, heat 1/4 cup olive oil until shimmering. Add the stuffed peppers, filling side down, and cook over medium high heat until well-browned, about 4 minutes.
- Step 6: Using a spatula, turn the peppers over and cook until the skins are browned and blistered, about 4 minutes longer.
- Step 7: Add the tomato sauce and chicken broth, cover and simmer until the sausage filling is cooked through and the peppers are tender, 5 to 6 minutes.
- Step 8: Serve immediately over pasta or polenta.
Can’t find Italian peppers? You can most certainly substitute a regular bell peppers, a sweet variety such as Yellow Bell, Red Bell, or Orange Bell. Just slice them lengthwise and continue with the recipe. I would avoid a green bell pepper. The strong flavor will distract and the skin is too tough for frying.
Aside from stuffing, the Italian pepper is most well known for the classic Italian sausage and Pepper sandwich. They can also be used simply sliced and added to salads.
The sausage filling for the peppers can be made up to two days in advance. The frying peppers are best fried, served and eaten once cooked. The peppers can become a bit soggy if stored for a length of time.
Yes. There are so many plant based sausage substitutes available these days. Just substitute for the Italian Sausage. Swap white wine or vegetable stock for the chicken stock. And omit the mozzarella cheese.
You might be wondering why there’s no traditional basil or garlic in this traditional Italian recipe. Both are strong flavors … try it without first for some pure delicious flavor that showcases the sweet Italian peppers.
- Use ground beef or ground chicken in place of the Italian sausage.
- Try Italian Chicken Sausage in place of pork sausage.
Store any leftover stuffed peppers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. Preheat any leftovers in the microwave in 15 second increments, until heated through.
Recipe for Italian Stuffed Peppers
These Italian Stuffed Frying peppers make a mighty fine family dinner. I hope you give the recipe a try. Enjoy!
Pro tip: Once the Italian Stuffed Peppers are plated, sprinkle on some red pepper flakes and more grated Parmesan cheese.
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Italian Sausage Stuffed Sweet Italian Frying Peppers
- 5 ounces baby spinach
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 slices sandwich bread finely chopped
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese grated
- 2 tablespoons red onion small chop
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 pound Italian sausage hot or sweet, ground
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 large Italian frying peppers halved lengthwise and cored, stems left intact. or 8 small peppers.
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup canned tomato sauce
- 1 cup chicken broth
- A few chunks of fresh mozzarella cheese to poke here and there into the stuffed peppers
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the spinach and drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Cook the spinach over medium high heat just until wilted, about 1 minute. Remove the spinach and coarsely chop.
- Cut the peppers in half lengthwise and clean out any large pieces of veins and shake out seeds.
- In a large bowl combine the chopped bread with the milk, egg and cheese and stir until well combined. Add the onion, sausage, spinach and tomato paste. Using hands, gently knead the mixture until well combined. Let this stand in the refrigerator 30 minutes.
- Using a fork, gently pack the sausage mixture into the pepper halves. Press chunks of fresh mozzarella here and there into the sausage mixture.
- In the skillet, heat 1/4 cup olive oil until shimmering. Add the stuffed peppers, filling side down, and cook over medium high heat until well-browned, about 4 minutes.
- Using a wide spatula, turn the peppers over and cook until the skins are browned and blistered, about 4 minutes longer. If you loose any filling while turning, just use a fork to replace it.
- Add the tomato sauce and chicken broth, cover and simmer until the sausage filling is cooked through and the peppers are tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to plates and serve over pasta or polenta.
Sausage Stuffed Italian Frying Peppers … It’s What’s For Dinner
Great info..I live in ohio and was told these were so much better than banana peppers..my plant has 1 and lots of one’s starting..excited to try them out..I know NOTHING about them
I made these last night but used.what I had on hand: dry chorizo, 8 oz. For the sausage, no extra salt , kale for the spinach, put in oven drizzled w olive oil at 350 for about an hour, no chicken stock but would peob work substituted for olive oil. They came out like delicious little poppers. No tomato sauce necessary
Lea Ann says
Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know. I agree, this is the kind of dish that would work so well with what was on hand. I need to find some this fall at our markets. Haven’t seen any yet.
My parents grow a ton of these every summer. They remove seeds hollow out whole and stuff w italian bread, romano cheese. Fresh tomato, egg, fresh garlic, salt. Put in oven w olive oil and let them oven fry.
Lea Ann says
Thanks for stopping by and the comment. I’m loving your description of the oven fry. Thanks for that!
Lea Ann…you made me realize how I have abandoned these very good peppers…I should use them more often. Very appetizing recipe and pics ;o)
I’ve never had these peppers, but they sound great and I love the stuffing with the spinach and sausage!
I’ve been out for over a week and you’ve been busy! These look delicious and I can almost taste that combintation of flavors. Plus, I love anything with peppers. I saw some of these in California at the farmer’s market – the grower said they were not as spicy as Annaheims, so I didn’t get them. If I’d seen this post, I would have marched right back and grabbed some. Great find!
These are freaking awesome! You should link those up at Tailgate Time (http://seasidesimplicity.blogspot.com/2010/09/tailgating-time.html) because I agree with Kristi.
I love cubanelles but I’m no expert, so I don’t know if they are the same. But I’ll certainly try this with cubanelles!
Kristi Rimkus says
This is football season in my house. We are big football fans and this looks like the perfect football watching food!
Biren @ Roti n Rice says
Stuffed vegetables are such a treat and these stuffed peppers look so delicious. I will have to make lots of these at our home.
I love it when stuff like that happens!! I’ve never cooked with cubanelles…haven’t seen them around here before…but I totally want to now! This sounds delish, LeaAnn 🙂
Wanted you to know Lea Ann, that the yellow AND blue coffee cups were both purchased years ago at Crate and Barrel for $1 a cup! (I have a lot of coffees, teas and meetings so needed lots of them.) They continue to have really good prices on things like that.
Your stuffed peppers look super good. If you still have some give this a try. Slice longwise into three flat pieces, remove seeds and fry in olive oil until softened – add S&P. Make a sandwich of just the fried peppers (2-3 layers thick), mayo and your favorite bread. First time I tried it I couldn’t believe how good it was.
Zia Liz says
These look lovely! Although I admit I have no idea what kind of pepper they are. Mmmmm… peppers 🙂
I love peppers!
It’s so rare that I ever find ingredients like this when I actually need them! I think Italian frying peppers are cubanelles, but I’m not sure. Whatever they’re called, this looks fantastic! Love that stuffing.
a A cubanell is a totally diff. pepper there several types of fryers, Marconi is a great one , accanagua , easy to grow get seed ,tomatogrowers .com ,, victory seed , baker creek some grow to 9 inches pick green with a little red ,great in salad raw !!!!
I agree! Totally different peppers! We grew our own Italian fryers. They were more similar to Goat horns but not as long. Cubanelle are a poor substitute
Looks great. We get these every so often and roast them with onions and sweet Italian sausages. They freeze well, so stock up if you get the chance.
My Kitchen in the Rockies says
So, when are we going to buy these peppers at the Market up in Brighton together? Can’t wait. My family would love this recipe.
Looks great! I’ll have to keep my eye out for these peppers.
It’s worth the search. As always thanks for stopping by Stephanie.
Ask and you’ll get answers.! Whether from Food and Wine or bloggers. These look super, Lea Ann. I wonder if I can get them here? I’ll ask at Whole Foods when I go tomorrow.
Adding cheese can’t help but improve any recipe! 🙂
Thank you Barbara. By the way, I’ve never ever seen them at Whole Foods. Hope you find them.
Yes, we’ve been selling them as Cubanelle peppers every summer at Tony’s for ages – direct from our farmer Carl Musso in Pueblo. They’re big with Italians on the east coast and are usually sauteed alone or with onions and Italian sausage or any sausage – even over hot dogs. My dad, Tony, grills them on aluminum foil sheets with olive oil, salt, pepper and Italian herbs. They are very mild, thin walled and they turn red when very ripe. The season is nearing it’s end, but we have them every day at Tony’s – get them while you can!
Cubanelle are not Italian frying peppers! Totally different!