July 10, 2014 at 1:00 am

Stuffed peppers are versatile, a bit retro

Instant brown rice and the microwave help speed up these Smoky Stuffed Peppers. (Ken Burris / EatingWell)

Turkey sausage and smoked cheese give a flavorful boost to this versatile, somewhat retro dinner. We’ve speeded it up by microwave-blanching the peppers and using instant brown rice. If possible, choose peppers that will stand upright.

Smoky Stuffed Peppers

6 large bell peppers, tops cut off, seeded
12 ounces hot Italian turkey sausage links, removed from casings
1 ˝ cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 cups instant brown rice
1 cup chopped fresh basil
1 cup finely shredded smoked cheese, such as mozzarella, cheddar or gouda, divided

Position rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler.

Place peppers cut-side down in a large microwave-safe dish. Fill the dish with ˝ inch of water, cover and microwave on High until the peppers are just softened, 7 to 10 minutes. Drain the water and transfer the peppers to a roasting pan.

Meanwhile, cook sausage in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, breaking it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Stir in broth, tomatoes and rice; increase heat to high and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the rice is softened but still moist, 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, until the rice absorbs the remaining liquid, about 5 minutes.

Stir basil and half the cheese into the rice mixture. Divide the filling among the peppers, then top with the remaining cheese. Broil until the cheese is melted, 2 to 3 minutes. Serves 6.

To make ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Per serving: 292 calories; 11 g fat (4 g saturated fat; 34 percent calories from fat); 32 g carbohydrates; 43 mg cholesterol; 636 mg sodium; 19 g protein; 5 g fiber.