“They look like worms.” Though, after one bite, Paul’s opinion changed to, “Delicious!” There’s nothing else quite like the sweet and savory taste of Peperonata. This colorful blend of sweet peppers stewed with onion, garlic, thyme and rosemary goes with most everything Italian and otherwise.
Because of its orangey color (and its possible resemblance to worms), Peperonata seems rather appropriate for a Halloween party appetizer. In addition, its bold flavor and golden hue makes it a fitting appetizer for Thanksgiving as well.
Many recipes for Peperonata
Numerous recipes for Peperonata abound. Some recommend quickly sautéing the peppers; while other recipes include tomatoes, basil and even eggplant. For the moment, I’m completely captivated by this long-cooked version with its silky, soft peppers and bold mix of flavors.
As a wrap
Consider serving Pepperonata on a leaf of butter lettuce, romaine or Belgian endive. It’s delicious atop either soft goat cheese (flavored with scallions and parsley) or hummus. To use a Halloween-appropriate expression, Peperonata wraps are “to die for.”
- Lay the pepper on its side and slice off one of its sides.
- Now that you’ve exposed the totally gorgeous insides, turn the pepper a quarter turn. Slice the next side as close to the membrane as possible without cutting into the seeds.
- Another quarter turn and slice the next side.
- A final quarter turn and a final slice.
- With a paring knife remove any white membrane still attached to the pepper.
- Slice or dice the sides and bottom square of the pepper according to your recipe.
Cooking black and orange for Halloween
A few suggestions for a black and orange Halloween menu:
I’ve been working on a creamy and intensely colored and flavored Black Rice Risotto. It took so long to cook the Italian Venere Rice, that unless you have patient guests (which we did) who love to join you in the kitchen, it may not be appropriate. However, I’m experimenting with cooking the black rice in advance. I’ll prepare the risotto with Arborio or Carnaroli rice and stir in the cooked black rice and roasted squash toward the end. It may not have the same earthy smell and chewy texture as all black rice. But it will be done in about one-quarter of the time. More to come on Black Rice Risotto in my next post. Until then, let me know if you enjoy the Peperonata.
This boldly flavored, sweet tasting and colorful blend of sweet peppers makes an easy and incredible-tasting appetizer, side dish, filling for sandwiches and omelets, pizza sauce, pasta topping, etc. Plus, its vegan and gluten-free.
Makes about 3 cups
Active time: 35 minutes
Total time: 1 ½ hours
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced (pole to pole)
6 assorted red, yellow and orange bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut into ¼ inch-thick strips
6 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 sprig each fresh thyme and fresh rosemary
½ cup water plus more as necessary
¼ teaspoon salt
Dozen twists freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan or soup pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions, cover the pan and cook about 5 minutes until the onion becomes translucent.
- Stir in the peppers, garlic, water, herbs and salt and pepper.
- Partially uncover the pan and lower the heat to medium-low.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, for an hour. Add another quarter cup of water and completely cover the pan if the peppers begin to stick.
- When done, the peppers will be quite soft and sweet and the liquid thickened. Remove the thick stems of the herbs leaving the leaves behind.
- Stir in the vinegar. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve hot or at room temperature.
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