STUFFED PEPPERS PALERMO – a recipe lost and found

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“Things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect.” J.K. Rowling

Hi there,

Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it seems like a good time to talk about this recipe. You may remember my writing about my friend Joanne who died when she was 45. Joanne died from Breast Cancer. I remember when Joanne first found the lump in her breast. She was sent for a brand new test called a Mammogram. Back in the early 1980’s, there was very little hope of surviving Breast Cancer. Today, thank God, it is a very different story.

This pepper recipe was one of Joanne’s signature dishes. Dom and I were always happy when these peppers appeared on her table. I never got around to getting her recipe and I thought it was lost to me forever.

About 20 years ago I became friends with Frank. Frank is a superb cook and it is always a treat to be invited to a dinner he has prepared. One Sunday, we were invited for Sunday Gravy and this stuffed pepper dish was the starter. I almost fell off my chair. Here was the taste I never thought I would find again. Frank explained it came from an Italian magazine called Attenzione. I remembered Joanne being a fan of that magazine too. The recipe was printed in 1982, so both friends were reading the same magazine back in ’82. Talk about Karma.

The above quote completely illustrates the serendipity of this situation. Lose a friend; gain a friend. Lose the recipe and unexpectedly find the recipe.

Well this time I made sure I got the recipe and now I am going to share it with you my friends, so that it will never be lost again.



  • 8 small cubanelle peppers
  • 6 tablespoons fruity olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons of finely minced fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons of garlic paste
  • 10 ounces of tuna packed in olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of anchovy paste
  • 1 cup of chopped tomatoes, San Marzano if you can find them
  • 1/2 cup of unflavored bread crumbs
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, finely minced
  • 1/4 cup of well drained capers
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano
  • black pepper to taste. I don’t use salt because the fish provides an ample amount of salt


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • Core the peppers and rinse and set aside
  • In a large skillet heat 3 tablespoons of oil
  • Add the parsley and garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes
  • Add the tuna, anchovies and tomatoes
  • Stir the mixture breaking up the tuna for approximately 5 minutes
  • Add the bread crumbs, hard boiled eggs, caper, pepper, and oregano
  • Cook for another 5 minutes. Mixture should be thick
  • Stuff the pepper with the mixture
  • Place them in a well oiled heavy baking dish and drizzle with remaining olive oil
  • Bake for 1 hours, spooning the oil over the peppers every 15 minutes.
  • Remove and serve at room temperature

I hope you enjoy these peppers and don’t neglect getting your mammography.

Talk soon, 💕🎀Bernadette

36 responses to “STUFFED PEPPERS PALERMO – a recipe lost and found”

  1. Angie@Angie's Recipes – Angie's Recipes is an interactive blog dedicated to sharing yummy & creative recipes, helpful cooking hints and tips. Enjoy your visit and spread the word!
    Angie Schneider says:

    What a sweet and warming tribute to Joanne and friends in your life. These stuffed peppers look comforting and delicious with tuna filling.

  2. Darlene – British Columbia, Canada – Writer of children's stories, short stories and travel articles.!/supermegawoman!/pages/Darlene-Foster-Writer/362236842733
    Darlene says:

    I love stuffed peppers and have a couple of great recipes. But I have never thought of including tuna. That would be wonderful. I must try this. A nice memory of your friend as well. Love the quote, and oh so true.

    • I thought it was a little strange stuffing with tuna, myself. But, the taste is wonderful and best served at room temperture which makes it a great starter for a dinner party. Thanks for your kind words Darlene.

  3. A pepper sweet story. I’m sending warm hugs surrounding you and your friend who died too soon. What a gift, to have found the new friend Frank, and your friend’s recipe. It looks so delish.

  4. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen – I'm a writer, cook, gardener, photographer, poet, quilter, and accomplished daydreamer. I'm also a wife, mother, grandmother, sister. cousin, aunt, and friend, no particular order on any given day. I've been a writer all my life, newspaper reporter and columnist, radio news writer, and magazine contributor, and poet and short-story writer as the spirit moves. Now, I turn my attention to my cookbook, the blog, and a cooking column "Memorable Meals," which runs in our county newspaper. Besides my family, I love dogs, cats, good coffee, and my never-dwindling pile of books I intend to read. Our family ran a small Vermont Inn for 18 years, with our focus on local, organic ingredients. After many years of daily serving up of our local delicacies, cooking classes, and catering, we are now only open for special events, and the odd cooking class as the spirit moves me. We also host musicians and artists, having helped produce a musical festival and other musical events for nearly 20 years. Many incredible artists have found a place at our table. Wonderful experiences, we will treasure always. My family and friends are my practice subjects. With a family that includes nut, peanut, tree fruit, and vegetable allergies, gluten intolerance, dairy intolerance, vegetarians, vegans, heart conscious, and a couple of picky eaters, there has to be a few quick tricks in the book to keep everyone fed and happy! Personally, I do not eat red meat or most dairy (usually) for health reasons, making the occasional exception at Thanksgiving and Christmas or our anniversary if the duck is locally raised. I do eat fish and seafood, so I try to come up with alternatives and substitutions when available. I serve local organic eggs and cheeses to my family who can tolerate dairy (My husband recently had a heart attack, and I need to watch my own cholesterol so I am careful, but have been known to let a little piece of really good cheese accidentally fall on my plate!). I believe strongly that eating in a way that is good for our planet is also good for our bodies! I cook by the seasons and draw on inspiration from the strong and talented women in my family who came before me, as well as the youth in the family who look at the world with fresh eyes. Food links us all, whether sharing a meal, cooking it together, or writing about it for others to enjoy. I love taking an old recipe and giving it a modern spin, especially if I can make it a littler healthier and use foods that are kinder to the Earth and to our bodies. I believe strongly in sustainable, delicious eating of whole foods, and the wonderful flavors we have at our fingertips! And finally, I love conversing with all the talented cooks and chefs out there who dot the globe! It's a wonderful, world full of culinary pen pals, and I cherish them all! XXXOOO Dorothy
    Dorothy’s New Vintage Kitchen says:

    What a wonderful, serendipitous surprise! These little gifts are the stuff that makes life magical.

  5. 💜 What an awesome recipe EveryOne, I AM Drooling like Homer EveryOne; as for “Cancer” there is No Cure…so I Suggest Take No Treatment and Let Nature Take Its Course as SHE!!! inevitably does; as SHE!!! does Sooner or Later, often with “Miracle Cures” EveryBody


  6. Chef Mimi – As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!
    chef mimi says:

    Wow! This recipe is incredible! And what a story.

  7. CarolCooks2 – Udon Thani – Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them. I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling. Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use contain to improve our health and wellbeing. This is now taking me into other areas like deforestation, chemicals and preservatives in the food chain. Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!
    CarolCooks2 says:

    How lovely to have found your dear friend’s recipe.. a lovely tribute of remembrance and a delicious sounding dish…I love stuffed peppers 🙂

  8. Jacqui Murray – Laguna Hills, CA. – Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular prehistoric fiction saga, Man vs. Nature which explores seminal events in man’s evolution one trilogy at a time. She is also the author of the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers and Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. Her non-fiction includes over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, reviews as an Amazon Vine Voice, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Savage Land.
    Jacqui Murray says:

    My sister and I made stuffed peppers. Betty Crocker’s version. This sounds glorious!

  9. Time Traveler of Life – Where my Motor Home is! – Biography Creating worlds, characters, and wielding power like a madwoman, making my characters happy, sad, angry, and some of them with no redeeming qualities. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I sometimes laugh out loud when I am writing a scene, and I have been known to cry when one of my favorites has to die. I am a left-handed Gemini, what do you expect? Reading bedtime stories to my two children until they fell asleep or until they just told me to go away, was fun. Making up wild stories for my grandchild, and creating Halloween costumes from Cowboys to a Dragon, was another favorite thing to do. I missed that so much when they were grown, that I started writing. My yearly newsletters frequently were drafted third-person by my Love Birds, Miranda our motorhome, and by Sir Fit the White Knight, our faithful Honda. Throughout the years, some of my creative talents centered around writing letters of complaint expressing my displeasure with services or products. One crucial, at least to my Son, was a note to our local school bus driver petitioning her to allow him back on the bus. He was kicked off for making an obscene gesture at his buddy. I reminded her that it was not directed at her, and that “obscenity can be in the eye of the beholder,” kids use that gesture as a greeting. He rode the bus until he graduated. I loved driving my English teacher crazy. Leaving a “continued next week” at the end of my five handwritten pages required each week. He was one of many people that suggested I “do something about my writing.” I graduated from the School of Hard Knocks at the top of my class. After 30 years, in the trenches as a Real Estate Professional, I have found that truth is stranger than fiction. My books are filled with characters I met in that profession. Their names were changed to protect the guilty. Others were from people we met traveling around the country in Miranda, our Motorhome. I am married nearly 60 years to the love of my life, Shirl, and partner-produced two exceptionally talented children, and one grandchild who is our pride and joy.
    Time Traveler of Life says:

    I am not a stuffed Pepper fan but was amazed at the coincidence of life. It is amazing how much science has advanced our health. Now if they just figure out how to make it affordable for everyone, it will be truly wonderful.

  10. Nice tribute to remember your friend! Cancer tends to be more aggressive among the young. Early detection is still the key. 🙏🙏🙏💐

  11. I’m sorry for your friend! Definitely don’t neglect doing a checkup or a mammography if needed 🎀🎀
    I love stuffed peppers and this sound delicious! What a great magazine 😉

  12. cbholganza – Tagbilaran, Bohol, Philippines – I'm a retired army officer with a passion to serve, hence I continue to soldier on with my dreams, my advocacies.
    cbholganza says:

    A beautiful story behind a sumptuous meal. I will try this. My story goes back to finding a new friend!😊

  13. This is similar, yet different from my moms and grandmother’s stuffed peppers. Grandma stuffed her peppers with whatever was left over, yet never fish and anchivos paste. I will have to try that. I am so sorry about your young friend. Know that her journey paved a path for those who came after her, striving for a long life with family and friends. I am a testament to that. This upcoming January will mark my 10th year living with Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. As scary as it is, It doesn’t define me. I’m fine thanks to medical research and the sisters who came before me.

  14. Karen – New England – I travel the back roads of the world, sharing great food and interesting places and enjoyable pastimes.
    Karen says:

    What a lovely story and a wonderful sounding recipe. I make an Italian stuffed pepper appetizer but without tuna. Can’t wait to give this version a try.

  15. the Painted Apron – Life is all about creativity for me, as long as I'm creating something I am happy! I hope I will inspire your daily life and give you ideas for your own wonderful creations!
    the Painted Apron says:

    What a very special story! I am so happy you are reunited with Joanne through her recipe!

  16. Retirement Reflections – Vancouver Island, BC – Prior to retirement, I lived and worked in Beijing China for fourteen years (Middle School Principal/Deputy Director at The Western Academy of Beijing). Leaving international life behind, my husband and I retired to Vancouver Island in June 2015. To document both this transition and our new adventures, ‘Retirement Reflections’ was born. I hope that you enjoy reading these reflections, and will be willing to share your own.
    Retirement Reflections says:

    Delicious recipe and lovely tribute. Thank you for sharing this.

  17. cookingwithloveandspices – Texas, USA – Cooking is my art form. I love to have fun with flavors and really enjoy the food. It just so happens that my food is part of a healthy lifestyle. My blog is dedicated to my mom and grandmother because I learned to cook by watching them. I love to cook for my friends and make them feel welcome in my home. WELCOME to my blog:)
    cookingwithloveandspices says:

    Lovely story. I will try this but leave out the breadcrumbs so I can make it Keto.

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