Peperonata is a very typical Italian dish, I’m surprised I haven’t posted a recipe of it before but maybe I thought it was a too obvious a dish. Anyway, here it is. One of the reasons why I want to share this with you is that it is such a perfect example of how I have learnt and apprehended Italian cooking throughout the years. I always loved to eat cold peperonata with bread to dip in it so I started to cook it quite early on but I made two mistakes, I added too much tomato and I let the bell peppers overcook. I started with the classic version which includes bell peppers, onion and tomatoes but over the years I have picked up ingredients here and there so now I have my own version of it. First to be added was black olives, I got that from Romana, my mother in law’s domestic help with whom I have spent lots of time with in the kitchen, asking her about what she was cooking. The celery comes from my neighbour Paola, we are endlessly swapping recipes and talking about food when we meet. Sometimes we manage to speak about something else as well but most of the time we seem to be discussing food! The leek is my own addition, I love the flavour of leek, it’s so subtle and in certain dishes it’s much nicer than normal onions. A little here and a little there and you learn some more of how to cook Italian. So here it is, make yourself and your family a bowl, dip some nice bread into it, preferably when it’s cold, and think of me!
2 big bell pepper, red or yellow or both
1-2 sticks of celery
200 ml /0.85 cup tomato sauce
15-20 black olives
Extra virgin olive oil
- Cut the leek and the celery into thick slices and braise them in olive oil.
- Cut the bell pepper into strips the width of your ring finger or little finger (it obviously depends on how big handed you are) and when the leek and the celery begins to soften you add the pepper. Be careful not to burn the leek.
- After 4-5 minutes you add the tomato sauce and then leave it to simmer for about 10-15 minutes, the bell pepper should be soft but absolutely not mushy.
- Five minutes before the dish is ready you add the olives.
- Serve it hot or cold and don’t forget the bread!