January 11, 2012

Fill your family up with this quick 1940s spaghetti stuffed pepper recipe

At first glance the image in today's vintage recipe might elicit a slight sense of hesitation. The pimento stuffed olive slices are a rather kitschy touch that may not appeal to everyone, but swap those for a few shavings of your favourite hard Italian cheese (parmesan, pecorino, etc), fresh basil leaves, or even a little pan-fried pancetta for extra protein, and you'll quickly see the appealing side of this marvelously easy meal.

I thoroughly adore bell peppers - there isn't a shade I don't go gaga for (orange and purple tie as my favourite colours, but no matter the shade I'll always jump at the chance to cook with this vitamin C packed veggie) - and try to always have at least a couple in the crisper at all times.

Many stuffed bell pepper recipes call for meat and/or rice, but instead this version from 1948 is crams a portion of tomato sauce drenched spaghetti into each delightful green pepper.

Being married to one of Italy's native sons, I pretty much always keep homemade tomato sauce on hand and highly recommend using you own sauce here, but by all means if you don't have any, reach for your favourite jar of store bought sauce to help make this filling dish even speedier to get on the table.

This recipe calls for canned spaghetti in sauce, but I've always made it with precooked pasta (for those like me who aren't able to eat gluten, both rice and corn based pastas hold up wonderfully, in my experience, in this yummy recipe) - do try it with canned spaghetti though, if you'd like (doing so will make this dish even quicker to whip up).

{Hailing from the late 1940s, this charming Italian inspired stuffed bell pepper dish is the kind of fun, quick-to-prepare food that appeals to dinner guests of all ages and is especially well suited to busy weeknight meals. Image via curly-wurly on Flickr.}

I like to add in a clove or two of garlic (or - and this is an extra lovely treat - some oven roasted garlic, if I have any to hand), generous lashing of freshly cracked black pepper and fresh basil and/or some dried marjoram.

You could add ground meat or tiny meatballs to the sauce, as well as grated or crumbled cheese, fresh or sundried tomatoes, olives (black or green), or any other vegetables you desire. Play around with various ingredients until you find a version or two that your family chomps at the bit for.

Not only is this delicious spaghetti stuffed bell pepper recipe ready in a jiffy, it's pretty darn economical . too- especially if you can get peppers on sale or are able to grow some of your own in your garden. I generally make this dish with green or yellow peppers, but any shade will work so long as the pepper is relatively firm to begin with (as it will soften a fair bit during cooking).

Redolent of a Mediterranean mama's kitchen, and perfect for those days when the fridge and pantry are getting low, this vintage recipe is fabulous any time of the year, but works especially well during the bitingly chilly days of January, when one's belly really needs to properly warmed come dinnertime.


  1. Yay! A vintage vegetarian recipe! Perfect for me. I think it looks yummy. I always add peppers into my pasta, so why not add pasta into my peppers :)

  2. Love your blog, and love vintage! =)


  3. Ha - this is cute! I actually love olives of all sorts, but only enjoy brightly coloured peppers (no green!) If you had scads of time, how 'bout doing a lasagne in a pepper? It would be a lot of fuss, but might be tasty and the cheese melting all over the top would not be hard to love either.

  4. I don't know why this recipe seems so odd, after all we stuff peppers with rice, so why not spaghetti? And yet it does seem odd, but in a strangely delicious sort of way, and I know I am going to try it.

  5. I made these this evening, and they were delicious! As I was eating the last mouthful I thought, hmm, a picture might have been a good idea!

  6. Well but with garlic or basil it´s no longer vintage, is it?

    1. Very good question! I'm happy to say that it certainly would still be vintage, especially if we're talking in a mid-twentieth century context. Both of these ingredients (in the case of basic, especially in dried form) were well loved and frequently used ingredients in lots of recipes at the time (rubbing one's wooden salad bowl, for example, with a garlic glove before adding in the greens was very popular back then).

      ♥ Jessica