Sicilian Stuffed Tomatoes & Peppers

5 large ripe tomatoes
5 large green, yellow, orange or red bell peppers
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ cups cooked rice
1/2 pound ground beef or sausage
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground paprika
1 large sweet onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup fresh basil, minced
1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley, minced
1/2 cup pine nuts or slivered almonds
1/4 -1/2 golden raisins
1/2 cup parmesan
Salt and fresh black pepper to taste
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste

1.      Preheat oven to 375F.
2.      Cut off tops of tomatoes and carefully scoop out flesh. Cut off tops of peppers and remove seeds and membrane. Reserve tomato flesh. 
3.      Take tomato flesh and process it until pureed. Place the tomato flesh in a bowl and add olive oil, rice, meat, cumin, paprika, onion, garlic, basil, parsley, nuts, cheese, raisins, salt and pepper. Mix well and stuff the vegetables evenly with this mixture. Place stuffed vegetables in a baking dish.  
4.      Combine broth, and ¼ cup olive oil with the tomato paste and season with salt and pepper.  Pour the sauce over and around the stuffed tomatoes and peppers. 
5.      Bake about 1 hour or until the vegetables pierce easily and the top of the stuffed vegetables are golden on top. When ready, remove from oven and let rest a few minutes before serving.  

With this recipe, you can stuff any vegetable you like, such as onion, eggplant, zucchini, potatoes or cabbage. It goes well with crusty bread and a glass of cool wine.

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