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Peperonata - A Family Feast


Peperonata is an Italian dish of stewed sweet bell peppers and onions with tomatoes, garlic, and fresh basil. Serve these silky peppers and onions warm or cold, as a condiment or side dish, tossed with cooked pasta, or simply spoon it over crusty bread.

Yield: 10 servings 1x
Prep: 45 minutesCook: 45 minutesTotal: 1 hour 30 minutes


1 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided

2 pounds yellow onion, sliced into thick strips with the grain of the onion

1/4 cup fresh garlic slices (on a scale, about 1 1/2 ounces), about 6 large cloves

5 pounds (about 9-10) sweet bell peppers (yellow, red and orange), cut into large thick strips

1 1/4 cups canned pureed or crushed tomatoes

12 large fresh basil leaves, torn

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 loaf dense type Italian bread, cut on the bias into thick slices

(Optional) Balsamic or red wine vinegar, to drizzle over portions


  1. Set aside four tablespoons of the olive oil for grilling the bread.
  2. In a very large pot or Dutch oven (ours was 7-quart), place one-half cup of the olive oil over medium high heat. Once hot, add the onions and cook and stir five minutes.
  3. Add garlic and cook one more minute.
  4. Add bell peppers and remaining quarter cup of olive oil and stir and toss until the peppers are all coated in oil.
  5. Lower heat to medium and cook the peppers for 20 minutes, stirring often.
  6. Add pureed tomato and fresh basil leaves and cook on medium low for about 30 minutes or until peppers are soft but still have some chew, gently stirring occasionally. The texture of the cooked peppers is a personal preference. Martha, for example, likes her peppers soft and Jack likes them a bit firm. Both ways are right.
  7. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper and stir. Taste, then season further if needed.
  8. While Peperonata is cooking, slice the bread into thick slices, brush both sides with the reserved olive oil and grill in a hot grill pan on both sides.
  9. To serve, place a grilled piece of bread on a plate and top with a healthy portion of the Peperonata.
  10. Drizzle on the vinegar as an optional ingredient.

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© Author: A Family Feast
Cuisine: Italian Method: saute