What can you do when you have two bags of peppers but not a barbecue? Well, there are loads of recipes with pepper, but this traditional Italian dish is literally – as I said in the title – a celebration of flavour and colour.
Around Italy, the recipes for peperonata are the most various. The base is of course peppers, but any vegetable can be an interesting addition. It’s more a wintery kind of food, usually accompanied with polenta and meat stews, although it it also excellent at room temperature with grilled ciabatta bread slices or, as I like, as a pasta sauce. You can add it as it is or as a cream, just using a hand blender.
The one I’ve done reminds more of a French ratatouille, although it’s less thick and doesn’t have aubergines (sorry guys but I can’t eat them!). It’s not really the classic peperonata, but I used a few vegetables I had in the fridge just to add a little extra kick.
- Peppers, in various colours (the more the merrier), chopped
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped
- 1 courgette, diced
- 1 big carrot, sliced
- 2 small potatoes, chopped
- 1 tbsp tomato concentrate
- Boiling water
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 heaped tsp granular vegetable stock
Potatoes are not compulsory, but since I had two sitting alone in my pantry, I decided to add some creaminess to the whole thing and I got them a go.
So, once you have everything chopped, put the onions and the potatoes in a saucepan and add a few tablespoons of olive oil. Fry until golden, then add the peppers, the carrot and the courgette. Fry for 5-10 minutes, then squeeze in a tablespoon of tomato concentrate. Stir well, then cover with boiling water and season with the granular stock.
Cook for approximately half an hour until all the veggies are soft and that’s it! You can choose the cooking time according to your taste really, cook less if you have a crunchy tooth (be careful with the potatoes though, in case don’t add them) or more if you prefer a softer texture.