Orzo Baked in Red Peppers

Serves 6 as a side dish

8 oz. Orzo, Ditalini or other small pasta shape, uncooked
2 tsp. vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 celery stalk, finely diced
1 tsp. fresh thyme, or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
4 oz. provolone cheese, grated and divided
6 medium red bell peppers
3 tsp. dry bread crumbs

Prepare pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside. Put the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan and warm over medium heat. Add garlic, onion and celery. Cover pan and let vegetables cook until very soft. Remove from heat. Stir in pasta, thyme, parsley, Parmesan cheese, salt, 1/2 cup of the chicken broth and half the provolone.

Preheat oven to 350-o F. Cut the tops off the peppers and remove the seeds. Cut a small piece off the bottom of each pepper so they will stand up. Spoon the pasta mixture into each of the peppers and then set the peppers in a baking dish. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon bread crumbs on top of each pepper. Sprinkle remaining provolone over top of each pepper. Pour the remaining 1 1/2 cups chicken broth around the peppers. Bake for 45 minutes, until peppers are brown on top and very tender. Remove peppers from baking dish with a spatula. Serve immediately.