Pepperonata is an Italian classic – it’s really simple to make, just red peppers and tomatoes cooked slowly in olive oil with onion and garlic until everything becomes soft and sweet and melds together. Serve on toasted crusty bread as a starter or use it as a side dish for lamb. It keeps for a few days so double the recipe and you have a lunch the next day.
Serves 6 (doubles easily)
2 red peppers, seeded and sliced into strips
2 yellow peppers, seeded and sliced into strips
1 medium onion, sliced finely
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
300g tomatoes, sliced, deseeded and finely chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil – a good splash
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Place all the ingredients into a saucepan and season lightly (just adding a little salt and black pepper, you can add more later once you taste the dish).
2. Cook over a gentle heat for half an hour until the peppers are very soft. Check the seasoning and add a little more salt and pepper if it needs it. Keep cooking if the peppers are not soft.
– You can add stoned halved black olives for the last ten minutes of cooking as a variation.
– Add an anchovy or two at the start of cooking.
– Use roast peppers if you wish – you’ll need to cook the pepperonata for half the time (learn How to Roast a Pepper here).
– Pepperonata is good served on a hot baked potato with chopped fresh basil and some grated Pecorino, Grana Padano or Parmesan.
– You can always use a mix of peppers, yellow, red and green. Green peppers tend to be a little bitter so you may decide to leave them out. We like using the long red peppers as they look elegant on the plate.
– Store the pepperonata in a sealed jar or covered bowl topped up with more olive oil for up to a week. Make double the quantity!
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