Smothered Red and Yellow Peppers

La Peperonata

More of a sauce than a vegetable dish, peperonata is the classic accompaniment to bollito misto. It is also great with grilled steaks, lamb chops, or pork chops, especially with some good crusty bread. Do not be concerned about overcooking the peppers. When the peperonata is done, the peppers should be so tender they almost melt in your mouth. The pinch of crushed red pepper is meant to give the dish a little liveliness. If you’d like it spicier, increase the amount.

Preparation time: 25 minutes
Total time from start to finish: 45 minutes


  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 2 yellow bell peppers
  • 1 pound ripe tomatoes


  1. Peel, halve, and thinly slice the onion crosswise. Put the onion in a 12-inch skillet with the olive oil and crushed red pepper. Season lightly with salt and place over medium-high heat. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the onion is softened completely, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. While the onion is sautéing, core, seed, and peel the peppers. Cut away any white pith inside the peppers and cut into narrow strips about 1½ inches long.
  3. Raise the heat under the onion to medium high and add the peppers. Season lightly with salt and sauté, without stirring too often, until the peppers are tender and begin to brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. While the peppers are cooking, peel the tomatoes and coarsely chop. Once the peppers are tender and lightly browned, lower the heat to medium and add the tomatoes. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Cook until all the liquid the tomatoes release evaporates, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve hot.


This dish can be made 1 to 2 days ahead and kept in the refrigerator. Gently reheat with a couple tablespoons water.