Serves 4 – Prep: 1 hour + Oven: 35 min
For a spooky Halloween dinner
200ml vegetable stock, hot
20g pumpkin seeds
25g parmesan, grated
1 small garlic clove, peeled + crushed
40ml olive oil
salt and pepper
Using a small, pointy knife, cut the tops off the peppers in a zig zag pattern. Carefully remove the tops so they don’t break. Cut off the seeds and any white flesh from inside. Carve spooky Halloween faces into the sides of the peppers, keeping the offcuts to fry with the onion.
Put the couscous into a large mixing bowl with a pinch of salt and top with just-boiled vegetable stock. Cover with a plate and set aside to soak.
Peel and finely chop the onion. Heat 20g butter in a frying pan and fry the onion and pepper offcuts with a pinch of salt for 5 minutes until soft. Add to the couscous in the bowl.
Preheat the oven to 180°C fan.
Put all the ingredients for the pesto in a small blender and blitz into a fine paste. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, then stir through the couscous in the bowl.
Cut the brie into small 1cm cubes and fold through the couscous.
Stuff each pepper with the couscous stuffing, pushing in the filling so it tightly fits. Top each pepper with its lid, securing it with 2 toothpicks.
Brush a baking form with a bit of olive oil and lay the peppers – face side up – into the form. Cover with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes.
For the tomato sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
60ml red wine
400g tomato passata
1 tsp herbes de Provence
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper
Meanwhile, make the sauce: Peel and finely chop the onion. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and fry the onion for 5 minutes with a pinch of salt until soft. Peel and crush the garlic and add to the onion with the fennel seeds, fry for another minute.
Add the red wine to the onions and cook for a minute, then add the tomato passata, herbes de Provence and sugar and leave to simmer on a low heat for 10 minutes.
Put a bit of sauce onto each plate, then top with a pepper.
Tip: For a speedier version, use ready-made pesto and tomato sauce.