Peperoni ripieni di pane, or Sicilian stuffed peppers, features plump and colorful bell peppers filled with a delectable mixture of bread, fragrant herbs, and other ingredients that celebrate the Mediterranean flavors.
Peperoni ripieni alla siciliana is an Italian traditional dish from Sicily. It consists of sweet peppers stuffed with a flavorful mixture of bread, tomatoes, capers, and fresh herbs, then baked and served as an appetizer or main dish.
Sicilian peperoni ripieni are traditionally made with topepo peppers, also known as Topepo Rosso, which are a variety of sweet, round, red bell peppers originating from south Italy. They are small to medium in size, with a shape that resembles a tomato.
The dish is enjoyed across Italy and has also gained popularity in other parts of the world, with many regional variations. This particular version showcases the unique flavors and ingredients characteristic of Sicilian cuisine.
If you are like me and love the rich and vibrant flavors of Sicilian cuisine, try also my recipe for Pesto Rosso Siciliano!
- Peppers: If you’re lucky enough to find topepo peppers, use those. Otherwise, you can make this recipe with red bell peppers.
- Tomatoes: Use any type of fresh and ripe tomatoes available to you.
- Bread: I recommend using stale homemade bread.
- Cheese: The traditional recipe for peperoni ripieni di pane calls for Sicilian pecorino. But it can be used also another types of cheese, like parmigiano-reggiano.
- Capers: For an authentic recipe you can use Pantelleria capers if they’re available to you. Otherwise, any type of capers works fine.
- Garlic: This ingredient is key to adding flavor to the recipe, you can add as much as you like.
- Fresh herbs: Use lots of basil, parsley, and a bit of thyme too.
- Oil: As in most Italian authentic recipes, use an excellent extra virgin olive oil for best results.
- Seasonings: Salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste.
How To Make Peperoni Ripieni Di Pane
Cut bread into large chunks and place in a large bowl with plenty of water. Allow to soak for 15 minutes, then squeeze it with your hands to remove excess liquid.
Place soaked bread in a mixing bowl and crumble it with your fingers.
Dice tomatoes and place them in a bowl along with their juices. Chop half of the capers and the fresh herbs.
Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Stir chopped garlic and herbs and cook for half a minute or until nicely fragrant.
Top Tip: Pay attention When you cook the herbs as they can burn easily, so maintain the temperature on low and stir frequently.
Add tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 1 minute stirring constantly, then turn off the heat and remove the pan from the stove.
Once the tomato mixture has reached room temperature add to the bowl with bread along with pecorino cheese and the remaining capers.
Mix well for 1-2 minutes or until all ingredients are nicely combined. Set aside.
Trim about 1/2 -inch (1 cm) from the tops of the peppers. Remove the seeds with a knife then place the peppers in a baking dish.
Brush the peppers with olive oil and sprinkle them with a pinch of salt.
Stuff the peppers with the savory tomato and bread mixture making sure you fill them to the top.
Sprinkle all peppers with the breadcrumbs on top and drizzle with more olive oil.
Cover with the tops of each pepper and bake in a preheated oven at 360°F (180C°) for about 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, remove the tops and continue baking your Italian bread stuffed peppers for another 10 minutes. Enjoy lightly warm or at room temperature.
- Choose the right peppers: If topepo peppers aren’t available to you, just pick fresh, firm, and evenly-sized red bell peppers, as they will hold their shape better during baking.
- Use the right bread: Use day-old Italian bread or similar crusty bread, and tear it into small pieces or pulse it in a food processor to create coarse breadcrumbs. Avoid using soft bread like dinner rolls that will make the filling too soggy.
- Add more flavor to the stuffing: You can also add other ingredients like chopped olives, oregano, anchovies, or sun-dried tomatoes for extra flavor.
- Add more protein: If you want to make the dish more substantial, you can add also cooked Italian sausage, Scamorza, or provolone cheese to the filling.
- Stuff properly the peppers: Fill each pepper with the tomato & bread mixture, packing it firmly but not too tightly, as the stuffing may expand during cooking.
Peperoni Ripieni is the perfect prep meal for busy days as they become flavorful after resting for one or two days!
So, allow the bread-stuffed peppers to reach room temperature and then place them in a shallow airtight container, arranging them in a single layer. If you don’t have an airtight container, you can also use a plate and cover the peppers tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
Place the container with the stuffed peppers in the refrigerator where they will last for 3 to 4 days. I don’t recommend freezing them as the bread filling will become too soggy when thawed.
Peperoni ripieni doesn’t need to be reheated! But make sure to remove them from the fridge and bring them to room temperature before serving.
What does ripieno mean in Italian?
In Italian, the word “ripieno” means “stuffed” or “filled.” It is used to describe various dishes in Italian cuisine that feature a hollowed-out or enclosed food item filled with a mixture of ingredients.
Is pepperoni and peperoni same?
No. While they may sound similar, they refer to two different things. Pepperoni is a popular type of spicy, cured sausage originating from the United States and is used often to top pizza.
Italian peperoni, on the other hand, refers to bell peppers that come in various colors, such as red, yellow, and green. They are used in a wide range of dishes, including salads, pasta with peppers, and stuffed peppers (peperoni ripieni).
More Italian Peppers Recipes
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Peperoni Ripieni di Pane
- 4 red bell peppers (or 8 topepo peppers)
- 2 medium tomatoes (diced)
- ½ lb Italian bread (cut into chunks)
- ½ cup sicilian pecorino (or parmigiano)
- 2 Tablespoons capers (half chopped and half whole)
- 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
- 1 bunch of fresh herbs (basil, parsley, and thyme)
- extra virgin olive oil (as needed)
- 1 ½ Tablespoons Italian breadcrumbs (or Panko crumbs)
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- Place the bread in a large bowl with plenty of water. Allow to soak for 15 minutes, then squeeze it with your hands to remove excess liquid.
- Place soaked bread in a mixing bowl and crumble it with your fingers.
- Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
- Add to the pan the chopped garlic, herbs, and chopped capers. Cook for half a minute while stirring constantly.
- Add tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 1 minute, then turn off the heat and remove the pan from the stove.
- Once the tomato mixture has reached room temperature add to the bowl with bread along with pecorino cheese and the whole capers.
- Mix well for 1-2 minutes or until all ingredients are nicely combined. Set aside.
- Trim about 1/2 -inch (1 cm) from the tops of the peppers. Remove the seeds with a knife then place the peppers in a baking dish.
- Brush the peppers with olive oil and sprinkle them with a pinch of salt.
- Stuff the peppers with the tomato and bread mixture making sure you fill them to the top.
- Sprinkle all peppers with the breadcrumbs on top and drizzle them with olive oil.
- Cover with the tops of each pepper and bake in a preheated oven at 360°F (180C°) for 30 minutes.
- Remove the tops and continue baking for another 10 minutes.
- Take them from the oven and place the dish on a cooling rack, allowing the peperoni ripieni to reach room temperature before serving.
- Use day-old Italian bread or similar crusty bread. Avoid using soft bread like dinner rolls that will make the filling too soggy.
- You can also add other ingredients to the stuffing to make it flavorful, like chopped olives, oregano, anchovies, or sun-dried tomatoes.
- Fill each pepper with the tomato & bread mixture, packing it firmly but not too tightly, as the stuffing may expand during cooking.