I can’t explain how my mind works. Why would I look at the jumble of planters on my back porch, brimming over with nasturtium and geraniums and dead mint and orphans from last summer’s tomato plant and notice the basil thriving amidst it all and think, “I should make some peperonata for J.’s BBQ tonight.”
I guess it means there’s hope. Because I not only thought it, I made it, and it turned out better than I expected. And I never expect much from myself.
Indeed, I was pretty much planning to just pick up a six-pack of beer to bring instead, because I’d probably botch the job. Peperonata. Ptfh. Who the hell do I think I am, anyway?
I was actually a little proud of myself.
Yeah, it’s Italian. And it’s a basic dish with a lot of different variations depending on the region. This version is most basic of all, which means it couldn’t be easier. Just use fresh veg and you’re good to go.
From The Vegetarian Table, Italy, by Julia Della Croce
5 tablespoons olive oil
6 sweet bell peppers (choose different colors so it looks cool; red and yellow and orange. Wash, de-rib and cut into 1/2 inch slices. Set aside
(And just in case you’re like me and might not know otherwise, NO, green bell peppers don’t taste the same so don’t use them. I learned this the hard way a few years ago.)
1 large onion, finely diced.
4 garlic cloves, bruised (this means smashed but not chopped)
6 large, ripe tomatoes OR 1 and 1/2 cup canned plum, diced and drained.
6 large basil leaves, shredded
Here’s what you do.
First, gently saute those onions and garlic until soft, about 10 to 12 minutes…
Then add your sweet peppers and saute until coated, about five minutes
Add your tomatoes, season expertly and cover, cooking gently and stirring occasionally, until peppers are tender about 20-25 minutes.
Here’s what you get for your troubles:
This is so good even the kids will eat it, sandwiched between pulls of fresh French or Sourdough baguette. You could also just eat it as a side dish to something else. Don’t ask me what. I’m crap with pairing food.
These worked great on homemade tortillas at J’s BBQ. People remarked favorably!
Best of all – these get better after a day in the ‘fridge.