Peperonata

Sweet Pepper Ragout

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Serves

    6 to 8

Appears in

Peperonata is a typical southern Italian dish, yet it was served to me at the Enoteca Baldi in Panzano, in Tuscany, as an accompaniment to a platter of roast pork. While geographically unrelated, they tasted wonderful together. Red and yellow peppers are most commonly used, but if you can’t find yellow, use green. Some versions add tomato, others not. Some add a splash of vinegar at the end of cooking, others add sugar and vinegar for an agrodolce, or sweet-and-sour taste. Just be careful not to add an overpowering amount of vinegar, as it will fight the wine. Almonds and raisins can be added as well, but keep the wine in mind again and don’t make the mixture too sweet. Peperonata is best at room temperature. It is an excellent topping for bruschetta and, when warmed, makes a great sauce for pasta or sautéed chicken breasts.

Ingredients

  • 3 large red bell peppers
  • 3 large yellow or green bell peppers
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 or 2 onions, sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 3 vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted (optional)
  • ¼ cup raisins, plumped in hot water and drained (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Cut each bell pepper in half and remove the seeds and thick ribs, then slice lengthwise about inch wide. Warm the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the peppers and garlic, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until tender, about 20 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and the vinegar to taste and stir well. Then add the sugar, almonds, and/or raisins, if using. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for a few minutes to allow the flavors to mellow and mingle. Serve warm or at room temperature.