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This is one of the twenty-five different dishes Rach made in Italy last fall to celebrate her and John's 18th wedding anniversary. "Everybody really loved it—pescatarians, meat-eaters, everybody," she says. "They're just really simple stuffed peppers, and the filling is just a whole bunch of veggies combined with homemade croutons." The croutons are a great way to use up stale bread and can be used on salads, soups, chili, fish and whatever else you like!
For the croutons, combine the ingredients on parchment-lined tray and bake until dry and golden at 325°F. Reserve, then turn oven up to 375°F.
For the peppers, cut the tops off the first 8 peppers, trim the stem and chop.
Gently remove the ribs and seeds and trim the bottoms a bit if needed to have them stand upright. Arrange in a casserole dish.
Spray the inside of the peppers lightly with oil and season with salt and pepper. Pan-roast them for about 10 to 12 minutes, then remove from oven.
Heat a large skillet or a cast-iron pot over medium heat with EVOO, 3 turns of the pan.
Add fennel, onions, eggplant and Cubanelle peppers, season with salt and pepper and cook to soften, 5 to 6 minutes. Add garlic, tomatoes and passata and soften, stirring occasionally, another 10 minutes. Add the croutons and let them absorb the juices and liquids. Add a few leaves of torn basil.
Fill the peppers carefully, top with cheeses and bake, covered, until hot throughout, about 20 minutes, then uncovered 10 to 15 minutes until cheese is browned.