How to Make Sweet Pepper Stew – Peperonata!
You could probably get a bushel basket of market sweet peppers now for the cost of a couple of pounds imports in the supermarket in February – so take advantage of this seasonal bounty by picking up a whackload of peppers at your local farmers' market and getting down to business with this super easy, Italian classic; peperonata.
Peperonata is an Italian sort-of-stew made from roasted peeled sweet peppers, olive oil, tomato and other seasonings – and like any iconic dish, there are a million and one variations. Here’s a good one
Peperonata is great on grilled bread as a crostini, good with pasta and very good with eggs in the morning
- A dozen or so mixed sweet red and yellow peppers
- 1 medium onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- ¼ cup of olive oil, plus a little bit more
- 2 or 3 plum tomatoes, chopped
- A pinch of dried chili powder
- Salt and pepper
- Heat your oven to 400
- Cut the sweet peppers in half from top to bottom and take out the seeds and stem from each. Rub a little olive oil all over the peppers and then sprinkle on a little salt and pepper
- Arrange the peppers cut side down on a baking tray (using a little foil or parchment paper on the tray will make cleanup easier) and roast the peppers for about 30 minutes, or until the skin is blistering, but not blackened.
- Transfer the cooked peppers to a bowl and cover the bowl with cling film to steam the peppers as they cool – this will make them easier to peel.
- Meanwhile, chop up the onion and mince the garlic.
- Heat a heavy frying pan or skillet over medium and add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, toss in the onions and cook, stirring, until they are softened but not browned (about 7 minutes) and then add in the garlic and stir for another minute or so before finally adding in the chopped tomatoes.
- Cook the tomatoes, stirring, until all the juice has evaporated from the tomatoes and the whole thing is looking pretty mushy and incorporated (about 10 minutes)
- By the time you’re cooking the tomatoes, the peppers should have cooled somewhat and be ready to peel – so peel them! Do not use water to help take the skin off the peppers, as this can remove a lot of great flavor…if little bits of skin remain in hard to remove spots it won’t matter at all in the end.
- Chop the peppers into half inch strips and once the tomatoes are cooked through, add the peppers to the pan and stir to combine well.
- Reduce the heat to medium low, add in about ¼ cup of water and let the pepper mixture percolate for a while, to meld the flavors.
- Once the water has evaporated and things are looking thickened again, add salt and pepper to taste and you are done!
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