Ansots Spinach Béchamel-Stuffed Piquillo Peppers

By Dan Ansotegui
Dan Ansotegui
Dan Ansotegui
November 3, 2021 Updated: November 3, 2021

Piquillo peppers are a specific type of sweet pepper grown in Navarra, in the southern part of the Basque Country in Spain. Roasted red peppers could be used as a substitute, but are usually much larger than piquillo peppers.

Makes 28 peppers

For the Peppers

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 9 ounces chopped frozen spinach, thawed
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 8-ounce jars roasted whole piquillo peppers, drained and patted dry

For the Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 4-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Prepare the peppers: Combine the milk and half-and-half in a pot over low heat. Heat to a slight simmer.

Heat the butter and olive oil in a thick-bottomed skillet over medium heat until butter is melted. Add the chopped onion and sauté until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the spinach (you may use any protein or vegetable in place of spinach) and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the flour to make a thick roux.

Add the milk mixture one ladle at a time, mixing well before adding more. Stir this mixture (or masa, as it is called in Spanish) every 2 to 3 minutes. Cook at a low simmer until the masa begins to pull away from the sides as you stir it, approximately 6 to 8 minutes. Add salt as needed. Refrigerate the masa for 30 minutes to 12 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Reserve 4 piquillo peppers for the sauce. Pipe approximately 2 tablespoons of bechamel into each of the remaining peppers. Bake for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the sauce: Slice the reserved peppers.

Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic. When the garlic begins to dance, add the sliced peppers and juice from the tomato sauce. Allow to simmer for 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the white wine, tomato sauce, salt, and sugar. Cook for about 3 more minutes. Purée with a hand blender.

Add the warm sauce on top of the piquillos and garnish with chopped parsley.

Recipe by Dan Ansotegui, Ansots