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This is a small yet very filling dish for those of us who want to make a schmancy vegetarian dinner for two. It's pretty easy, just time-consuming, and in any case, the fabulous resulting flavor is well worth it. A very impressive dish for those of you who wish to impress; a nice scent to gossip over in the kitchen as well. (And yes, Friday is Valentine's Day, if you're into that sort of thing.)

You need:

Start by roasting one of your red peppers. Use the pointiest of them, such that your more level stuffing peppers will actually stay upright when baked/served. Cut in half, remove seeds, and place cut side down on a baking sheet. Roast under your broiler until the skin blackens completely.

While the pepper is roasting, bust out your knife and cutting board. Peel and chop your onion and garlic. Chop or grate the zucchini, leaving the skin on for stability and color. I've found that grated zucchini tends to give this risotto a smoother overall texture, and so prefer it. If you have a good tomato, skin it by plunging it into boiling water for 60 seconds, then slipping off the skin. Seed it and chop it up as well. The first time I tried this, I used a fabulous yellow heirloom tomato bigger than my two fists, and it turned out better than you could possibly imagine. So, if you have resources, use them!

Take your two intact red peppers and prepare them for future stuffing by cutting around their stems with a small knife, then removing the whole stem-seed system. Try not to rip them. However, if you do, you can cut them in half and stuff the halves. Trim the edges so the top of each pepper is level. Set all of these aside for the moment.

Put your vegetable broth on the back burner of the stove. If you don't have broth or boullion cubes lying around, just roughly chop a couple more onions, some more garlic, some carrots, celery, mushrooms, and whatever other vegetable you have lying around, and stick them all in a pot of water. Leave the onion skins on for some color. Bring your pot to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover to keep at a constant simmer. The longer you simmer, the more flavorful the homemade broth. So it's ok even if the pepper takes forever to roast.

When the pepper is done, take it out of the oven and brush off the crumbly skin, then dice like the other veggies. I like to have pepper pieces about as large as my (small) thumbnail. Now you are ready to start on the actual main risotto.

In a deep 3-quart pan, melt the butter and sweat the onion and garlic over medium-low heat until the onion is translucent. Add your arborio and your cup of wine or vermouth, and stir constantly. Drink a glass of wine while you're cooking, as well; it's delicious. Don't drink vermouth if you're using that, though. (Surprisingly enough, vermouth works really well in this dish, and is handy if you don't want to drink a bottle of wine with the meal. I actually used up a bottle of vermouth making this over and over. Who knew?) When the rice has absorbed most of the wine, and is looking translucent around a sharp white core, start adding broth little by little.

Follow the extremely comprehensive instructions given in the risotto node to make the general rice base: in short, gradually add cups of boiling broth to the rice, stirring constantly to let it absorb without anything burning. I tend to lower a pyrex measuring cup into the broth, with the mouth of the cup against the side of the pan so as to avoid transferring any vegetables. When the rice is almost cooked (approx 20-30 minutes; soft but with faint dry core), add in the tomato and the roasted pepper. If you didn't have a tomato, add a couple spoonfuls of canned tomato puree. Stir everything to combine and color (you haven't stopped stirring, have you?) The two flavors will magically infiltrate the entire risotto. Cook for a few more minutes, then add the zucchini. You want to avoid soggy zucchini, so it's best if you add it when your rice tasting indicates that you need to cook the risotto juuuuust a minute longer. So, stir to combine, cook for a minute or two longer, and take the whole shebang off the heat.

Grate yourself a big pile of romano or parmesan cheese (i.e. to taste) and stir it into your steaming risotto. Add some salt and plenty of fresh cracked black pepper. Taste it. Is it good? Good.

Spoon plenty of risotto into each of your stuffing peppers. You will probably have extra risotto; you can stuff a third and/or fourth pepper if you want to use everything up, or you can stick it in tupperware for lunch tomorrow. Top each pepper with grated romano or parmesan, and set under the broiler for five minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbly.

Eat! Risotto is incredibly filling; I often find that I don't really want anything but a single stuffed pepper. But you can pair it with a simple dark green salad, or some flash-sautéed chopped chard and mustard greens. Drink the leftover bottle of white wine. You can have your last glasses after dinner, listening to Bach's Cello Suites in the living room in the dim. Nice.

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