Canela Bistro & Wine Bar, located between the Castro & Duboce Triangle neighborhoods of San Francisco, blends Spanish flavors with California’s bounty. This tasty recipe from chef Mat Schuster defines that blend using sweet-spicy pickled Spanish Piquillo peppers with creamy Bellwether Farms Whole Milk Ricotta cheese made in Sonoma, California.

Makes 20 stuffed peppers, about 2 bites each for appetizers (or 5 entrees)

Ingredients

For the Filling:

1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
2 cups Collard greens, Mustard greens, Spinach, Kale or favorite greens mix, roughly chopped
juice of 1 lemon
2 cups Bellwether Farms Whole Milk Ricotta, plus ¼ cup for garnish
3 Tablespoons currants
2 Tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted, plus 1 Tablespoon for garnish
20 Piquillo Peppers, drained of liquid and cleaned of any seeds

For the sauce:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic
½ cup Piquillo peppers, coarsely chopped
1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
2 cups red wine
¼ cup Bellwether Farms Crème Fraiche
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

For the Filling

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Warm the olive oil in a large sauté pan, add shallots and sauté until translucent.  Stir in the garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds, then add greens to wilt and sprinkle with lemon juice.  Remove from heat and cool 20 minutes. Stir in the Ricotta cheese, add pine nuts and currants.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Fill each pepper to the top with Ricotta mixture. On a rimmed baking sheet, lay peppers on their side in a single layer.

Bake 20 minutes or until the cheese is lightly browned & bubbly. Serve with sauce (recipe below) and garnish with dollops of Ricotta cheese and toasted pine nuts.

For the sauce

In a deep saucepan on medium heat, add olive oil and sauté the onion, garlic, Piquillo and red bell peppers until tender.  Add the wine and continue to cook until wine is absorbed, about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and transfer to a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and add Crème Fraiche, salt and pepper to taste. Serve with baked Piquillo peppers.