Pepperonata

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You may have had an appetizer similar to this one at your local Italian restaurant. Bell peppers, onions, tomatoes and fresh herbs cooked with olive oil and served with perfectly crusty and still warm bread. I swear sometimes the best part of the meal is the appetizers. I don’t know if it’s because I am hungry when I sit down to the table or if it’s because I like to taste a little of everything, but appetizers do it for me.

I have served this for parties and have made it for lunch for my family. It’s also shown up for dinner served over fresh pasta.

It is so simple and easy to make but the flavors are just perfect together – like so many of my favorite Italian dishes. This is one of those plates you make and everyone asks for the recipe. Now you can share it with them!

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6 red and yellow sweet bell peppers (I used about half of a bag of mini sweet bell peppers), chopped

1 medium sized onion quartered and sliced

5 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 15 oz can diced tomatoes and their juices

chopped fresh basil and parsley – 2 tbs each

pinch or two red pepper flake

salt to taste

Heat 2 tbs of the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the peppers and onions and a pinch of salt. Saute until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and juices, fresh herbs, red pepper flake and the rest of the olive oil. Cook about 5 minutes until flavors combine. Let cool and serve with a loaf of fresh crusty bread.

This is best freshly made, but will keep overnight in an airtight container – a mason jar is perfect.

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